Tag Archives: chemin du roy

Saturday 3rd June 2023 – I’VE HAD ANOTHER …

… really bad fall today.

And this one is the worst that I’ve had. Even worse than the one on the boat coming back from Jersey last summer.

And not only that, it’s much more worrying too. usually what happens is that all of a sudden there’s no sensation at all in my right leg and when I put my foot down I simply fall over gently as if there’s no leg there.

However today, it was the left leg, my good (or maybe I should say less bad) leg, there was a stabbing pain all the way up my left leg and I had a really heavy fall.

It happened on the car park at Noz and I wasn’t able to stand up afterwards. I had to crawl on my hands and knees to Caliburn and lean on him to help me up.

Right now, I can’t move without being on crutches and each time I try to stand up or put my leg in an unusual position the pain comes back.

It’s not a “broken leg” type of pain but definitely a muscle or nerve issue. I’ll have to wait until the physio next comes to see me and have a chat with him. In the meantime I’ll be taking it easy

Not that I took it easy during the night. I stayed up until I finished the notes for the day in Canada 2017 on which I’d been working so that I could go to bed with a clean slate.

But once more, we seem to be back in the “tossing and turning during the night” stages. I thought that we’d got over all of that, but apparently not.

When the alarm went off this morning I was fast asleep again and it was a struggle to beat the second alarm.

There were a few things that I needed to do before setting out and then Caliburn and I went out to the shops.

And today I didn’t buy a thing at Noz. It really was a waste of time going and had I known how it would turn out I wouldn’t have gone at all.

At LeClerc I bought everything that I needed (although I bet that I’ve forgotten something) and then went to the appliances department in a separate building to buy a gas cylinder for my sodastream

Back here I had a fight with the freezer to fit in the beans that I’d bought and then settled down with my coffee and cheese on toast.

Regrettably, I crashed out for a while too. That’s becoming a habit, it seems, whenever I go out and about.

There was some stuff on the dictaphone from the night. I was a passenger on a coach trip with a young girl, someone like my youngest sister. We were in like a ballroom place sitting down talking. There were all kinds of things happening. We’d left the room for some reason but when we returned the band was just striking up a waltz. I grabbed hold of whoever I was with and we waltzed into the room. We were the only couple on the dance floor. my friend from Germany was there so she took her husband and they began to dance. We began to have a ballroom dance-type of thing. My partner wasn’t particularly good but I was able to guide her around somewhat. It began to be a nice pleasant evening.

Later on there was a family, something like the Lyons (as in “Life of Lyons”) family who lived at 222 some street or other. One of their children had to go to the radio centre to introduce a radio show. I went to pick him up. First of all I was surprised. I was expecting mansions, all this kind of thing but they were just modern terraced houses in a big square. I drove around and found the house. What was interesting here was that there was no front door. The living room overflowed into a common area. The doors behind went into the kitchens and bedrooms. I could hear the children talking in there. I recognised the voices so I went and knocked on the door leading to the back and they began to come out.

At that moment though I had a horrible attack of cramp in my left calf and that awoke me so I’ll never know how that would have ended..

Finally I had to go to a Tax Office last night to take all my papers. The first thing that I had to do was to take a plastic bag in which to put everything. There was a big pile of them. I took one that implied that I was Moroccan. I don’t know why I did that. I put all my papers in and had to join this queue. There were probably 20 clerks sitting at a long desk. You just went to stand at the desk and one of them would talk to you. I handed all the papers of my employment to her. I was marked down as “leaving definitively”. I had to hand in another certificate to the guy sitting next to this girl. He looked at it and said “we already have these. You didn’t need to bring this”. I replied “I bring everything anyway”. he began to go through all my paperwork with the girl. he asked me “do you have any more income with the Commonwealth?”. I replied “no”.

The rest of the day has been spent feeling sorry for myself and writing up the notes for the next day’s walk (in the days when I could walk) around Québec.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that years ago I wrote something about THE CHEMIN DU ROY from Montreal to Québec. I started from Repentigny because I wasn’t sure of the route out of Montreal but over time I traced the route and so I was on foot from the centre of the town out as far as the Jacques Cartier Bridge and a little bit futher east.

And one thing that I’ve often wondered. In North America most of the landmarks are named for the first European who actually saw them. I always wondered what Jacques Cartier must have said when he sailed up the St Lawrence to what in those days was the Iroquois settlement of Hochelaga in 1535 and saw that massive bridge.

There was a burger that had been in the fridge for a while and when I inspected it this evening I decided that the best thing to do with it would be to file it under CS. Consequently I had a further fight with the freezer and put one of the two remaining lasagne slices in there to keep

The other one, I ate tonight with a vegan salad and it was all extremely delicious. I’m really impressed with that lasagne, that’s for sure.

Not so impressed with my health though. It seems that I only have to think about going back to the Land of my Great Grandfather and I have a bad fall, just like last year.

However that time, I ignored it and went all the same, and look how that turned out. I think that my body is trying to tell me something.

What I’ll do for now is to carry on around the Port of Montreal ship-spotting and when things quieten down, dictate some radio notes that I’ve prepared.

No alarm tomorrow. I’ll have a good lie-in. But I have to be a-baking though. I’ve run out of fruit buns. No idea where I’m going to put the ones that need to be stored though. We’re back to where we were ages ago with not even the hint of a place to put stuff

Well, it’ll all work out somehow. It usually does. I just wish that I would.

Thursday 1st June 2023 – MY LASAGNE …

… for tea tonight was actually quite good.

There’s room for improvement of course but bearing in mind that this is the first one that I’ve made since I was living in Reyers more than 25 years ago, it was by no means disappointing.

There wasn’t enough filling, but that’s a minor problem. There’s enough food left nevertheless to make two more meals so it’s just as well that it worked.

What I did was to put some lentils in the slow cooker and slowly bring them to the boil. Then they were rinsed and put back in with clean water and some basil, oregano and tarragon. Mind you, I almost forgot to rinse them and had to leave my comfortable bed to do that.

Later on this afternoon I added some bulghour and later still, because there was still plenty of water, I added some porridge oats to soak it up and stiffen the mix.

At teatime I fried an onion and garlic with more of the herbs, added my mix from the slow cooker and some tomato concentrate, then layered alternate layers of pasta sheet and my cooked mix, topped it off with a thick cheese sauce and baked it in the oven, and away we went.

During the night I went away too. So much so that for a change just recently I wasn’t up before the alarm. It awoke me with a start when it went off but I didn’t hang around at all in bed.

After the medication and checking the mails and messages I had a listen to the dictaphone notes. And I really Had been away. Back at Hogwarts at one point too during the night with HARRY POTTER AND THE HALF-BLOOD PRINCE seeing the kids at their dance. Ron had split up from Lavender Brown. There was another girl there who was sulking for some reason or other. Ron went to ask her to dance but she replied “they aren’t playing our tune”. All her friends told him to leave her alone. Just then the music started to play it so a couple of people went to dance her and missed. She moved away. I don’t know what happened to Ron and this girl then but Hermione was there dancing with someone whom I didn’t know when the dance floor collapsed. They carried on dancing and it looked as if they would dance into the ladies’ lavatory. Someone just coming out of the door said to hermione “do you want some paper as well?”. It all was very strange.

Back in Harry Potter again later and there was something about spying on someone’s house. It was very difficult to do. There was a fallen tree with its branches and we had to hide ourselves in the fallen tree’s branches to do it. We piled into a car and set out to drive. There was a lot of traffic and I was weaving in and out of it and almost had a collision with someone. They went in front of me and put their brakes on to slow down so I did too. We had a slow drive with all the traffic on the road. We came to Barbridge where there was a fallen tree in the middle of the road. I said to the others “lock your doors and hang on because this is a trap” thinking that someone had cut down the tree for it to fall across the road to stop us and ambush us when we left the vehicle to see what was happening.

Later still I’d seen an AC Cobra for sale in the local newspaper so Laurence and I went round to see it with Roxanne. It was somewhere off nantwich Road in Crewe so we eventually managed to find the house. We walked straight into the house without knocking. We found the car in a downstairs room covered by a blanket. First of all my taxi detector wouldn’t work. Then I realised that an AC Cobra wouldn’t have been a taxi anyway. Found the guy and his wife sitting in a room next door, not in the least perturbed by the fact that we were in their house. We went back into the room and began to look around at this vehicle. He told me that he wanted £30,000 for it, which I thought was cheap. But that turned out to be the deposit to take it for a test drive – it was really £250,000. There was no way that I could afford that. I pretended that I was interested and got down to look underneath it. It was quite badly rotten around the edges. I thought to myself “he’s asking for a lot of money for something in this kind of condition. Even if I were to buy it, I didn’t have the mobility to crawl around underneath it with welding tackle etc these days. There’s no way that I could consider this vehicle” but I wasn’t going to tell him that until I’d had a good look around to find out what else was wrong.

I was back in this dream again later on and we were leaving. Down at the bus station was a bus going to Mold. We were saying our goodbyes but the driver prepared to close the doors. This woman and I ran to the door and scrambled aboard. We had a look for the guy who was with us but he wasn’t on board. By now the bus had set off. I thought “never mind. We’re on here and Roxanne is on here”. I asked for two and a half to Mold. he smiled and said “I’m not going to Mold”. “Well, take us to wherever you’re going”. He gave me two and a half tickets which came to 11/-. The first thing that I did was seeing as I had some money ready I said that I’d give him the shilling but it was a £10 note. Then I had a 10/- note for him. He looked at me and asked “is that correct?”. I suddenly realised that I’d done, took the £10 note back and gave him 1/-. I went to sit down and to worry about contacting the other guy later. There were 2 boys on the bus who made some kind fo remark about me handing over a £10 note and how did I spot it from that distance? I replied “when you reach a certain age you don’t look at the money, you can smell the difference between the notes.

Much of the rest of the day has been spent on Day Two of my 2017 trip to North America and the page is practically finished. However, we did hit an obstruction.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that one thing always leads to another, and once you start, you’ll be surprised just how many other things there are.

The subject of Marguerite de Bourgeoys cropped up on that web page.

She was a big friend of Paul Chomedey de Maisonneuve, the founder of Montreal and she was on one of the very first emigrant voyages to Nouvelle France where she occupied herself with spiritual works and the welfare of the filles du roi, the young girls from orphanages who were sent out to become brides for the soldiers who remained there to settle after having been discharged from the army.

They both came from Troyes which was on my shuttle route between Virlet and Brussels so on the very last time that I drove the route, instead of doing it overnight as I usually did, I took a whole week and visited every place of interest that I could find along the way.

One of the places that I visited was the family home of the Chomedeys and I found all of my photos. But seeing as Troyes is such a beautiful old town I took dozens of photos of many old house and I couldn’t remember which one was his.

No trace of the notes that I made, which was a surprise – especially as they were written up from the following day all the way back to Virlet.

In the end, I had to dive back into the bowels of the back-up disk and find the dictaphone recordings from the journey and re-transcribe the notes for the relevant day and mate them to the photos.

That’s another project that I’ll have to do one of these days. The road between the Belgian border at Rocroi and down to Nevers is one of the most beautiful and historic in all of France. I had a plan that when I was stuck for something to do (whenever that might be) I’d pick a long road like that, explore it thoroughly and write a book about it.

The TRANS LABRADOR HIGHWAY was done in 2010, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall and I’m doing Version 2.0 even as we speak.

After that, I wrote a pile of stuff about Lanouiller and de Bécancour’s CHEMIN DU ROY between Montreal and the city of Québec and all the way down the “Forgotten Coast” as far as it’s possible to go.

The road between Rocroi and Nevers was to be the third of the trilogy but ill-health and feeling sorry for myself somehow conspired to get in the way of all of my plans.

Someone else for whom I was feeling sorry for was the physiotherapist. He came by at 17:00 to tell me that he’s busy and will be back at 19:30. That was a major inconvenience, disrupting my evening like that and I made sure that he knew.

Rosemary phoned me at lunchtime and we had another one of our marathon chats that go on for ever. She’s being swept up by the turn of events and it’s not easy for “a stranger in a strange land” to deal with some of the things that go on. It’s not something that bothers me too much because I couldn’t care less, but Rosemary is much more sensible and focused than I ever am.

After she hung up, I went for a shower to clean myself up ready for His Nibs to come round and put me through my paces

As I mentioned earlier, tea was delicious. And now that I’ve finished my notes I’m off to bed.

Tomorrow I have to nip into town which will do me good. And then I have to carry on with Canada 2017 and sort out the mess that will be Trans-Labrador Highway Version 2.0

So once I finish that I’ll have to do Rocroi-Nevers next, then carry on with the Arctic stuff, go back and carry on with the Emigrant Trails stuff, organise the Grand Banks trips and probably 1000 other things too.

Never mind anything else – I’m far too busy to die right now.

Thursday 30th August 2018 – I WISH …

… that banks would stop employing cashiers who wear low-cut tee-shirts. When this one today leant over the counter to give me my US dollars in a fashion so that we could count them together, I was totally distracted and I have no idea how much she gave me.

It’s definitely bad for my health, all of this.

Last night was slightly better. I slept all the way through until the racket from the fridge and the air-conditioning awoke me at about 04:00. But I soon went back to sleep until the alarms went off.

Breakfast for some reason didn’t start to be served until 08:00 so I had plenty of time to attack the notes from yesterday, and I’d even finished by the time that they opened the dining room, which is always encouraging.

Afterwards, I had a shower and washed my clothes from yesterday. I’ll be washing myself away at this rate if it keeps on like this.

A little later, I went out into town, stopping off for a bottle of water and to explore the shopping mall just down the road.

And why is shopping in North America so boring? Well, when you’ve seen one bunch of shops, you’ve seen a mall.

I’ll get my coat.

bibliotheque archives national de quebec montreal canada august aout 2018Down the road at the foot of the hill by the Parc Viger is this beautiful building.

Dating from the early years of the 20th Century, it was formerly the Montreal Technical School but today it’s the BANQ – the Bibiliothèque and Archives National de Québec.

I’ve taken shelter there from the rain once a few years ago, but I’ve never actually visited it. However, it is my destination for this morning.

bibliotheque archives national quebec montreal canada august aout 2018While you admire one of the most beautiful interiors that I have ever seen, let me tell you my story.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that a few years ago I wrote a pile of stuff about the Chemin du Roy, the road that was built by Pierre Robineau de Bécancour and Jean Eustache Lanouiller in he early 18th Century to link Montréal and Québec

I wrote at the time that I would one day have to visit the National Archives to find the original maps of the route, because much has been lost in the subsequent 300 years.

So here I am.

bibliotheque archives national quebec montreal canada august aout 2018But I’m in for a massive disappointment.

There are indeed record of the route, that’s for sure. But they are held at the archives site in Québec, not Montreal. So I need to go there instead.

And where are the BANQ archives in Québec? Why, on the campus at the University of Laval of course.

Ring any bells?

track layout gare viger montreal canada august aout 2018But all is not lost. It wasn’t a total waste of time.

I’ve been wondering for years about the track arrangements at the Gare Viger – how the platforms were actually laid out in relation to the buildings, and here I struck gold.

On the wall was an exhibition of the area, and one of the exhibits was a map of the area 100 years or so ago which showed everything that I wanted to know.

train sheds gare viger montreal canada august aout 2018The station was subsequently modernised and extended, and this meant that the track layout needed to be changed.

And while I wasn’t able to see a plan of how the station layout was configured afterwards, there was a handy aerial photograph hanging on the wall that showed at least some of the train sheds.

So I might not be any the wiser, but I’m certainly better-informed.

gare dalhousie montreal canada august aout 2018The Gare Viger dates from the turn of the 20th Century. But before this, there was an earlier Canadian Pacific railway station in the eastern side of the city – the Gare Dalhousie.

It was from here that the first trans-continental train set out in 1886 (and we’ve all noticed that, once again, the Maritime Provinces have been totally ignored by the official Canadian History. According to them, there’s nothing except eskimoes and indians east of Montreal and they don’t count for anything)

After the opening of the Gare Viger it became a freight depot and then an industrial warehouse. However it’s recently undergone a programme of renovation and they have done a good job here.

It’s now a circus school, and seeing as it was formerly a Canadian Pacific building, that is quite appropriate. Clowns should feel right at home here.

gullwing port de montreal harbour canada august aout 2018Down on the docks Oakglen is still there, as we might expect, but we have another bulk carrier down at the far end.

She’s the Gullwing, a Maltese bulk-carrier of 39000 tonnes and was built in 2011, although you might not think it.

She’s come in from Quebec after an exhausting tour around the Pacific, and were I going to visit my friend Rhys I would hop aboard because according to the port authorities her next stop is Charleston in South Carolina.

msc alyssa port de montreal harbour canada august aout 2018Also in the far end of the harbour was a huge MSC container ship.

No chance of reading its name from here unfortunately but according to the port records, there’s an MSC Alyssa in port and she seems to fit the bill.

She’s of 61500 tonnes and has arrived from Liverpool. And were I to want to go back to Leuven for my next hospital appointment I would immediately leap aboard, because her next port of call is Antwerp.

kids pirate ships port de montreal harbour canada august aout 2018The brats still aren’t back at school yet in Montreal, and so the children’s entertainment is in full swing.

I was impressed by the pirate ships, and even more impressed by the fact that the kids were being allowed to swing on ropes and slide down zip wires and all of that.

Can you imagine that in the stupid nanny-state UK where the ridiculous Health and Safety rules are such that you even need a fire safety certificate to wave a flag at a football match.

But I haven’t come here to waste my time.

seabourn quest port de montreal harbour canada august aout 2018I had it on good authority that there was a cruise ship in town ready to do a voyage down the St Lawrence and the Eastern seaboard of the USA, and so I went for a look.

And here we have the Seabourn Quest, all 32,500 tonnes of her and built as recently as 2011, which is quite modern for a cruise ship. We’ve seen some thoroughly ancient and disreputable ones in our time.

Unfortunately the quay was heavily guarded so if Strawberry Moose and I want to nip aboard, we’d have to buy some tickets.

juno marie port de montreal harbour canada august aout 2018The little tender alongside her is the Juno Marie.

She’s officially described as a tanker, and being small like this, her task is very likely to be to fuel up the larger ships in the docks as they arrive so that they are ready to set sail as quickly as possible.

There are a few of these little tankers in port and we’ve seen at least one of them before.

ursulines place d'youville montreal canada august aout 2018When I was here last October I’d finally managed to make it to the real centre of the city where it all was happening back in the 17th Century but I didn’t have time to go far.

One of the places that I hadn’t seen was the old Ursuline convent, or what remains of it.

This organisation of the “Grey Nuns” was founded here in Montreal in 1737 by Marguerite d’Youville and they ended up over time with quite an impressive range of buildings here.

ursulines pace d'youville montreal canada august aout 2018Their claim to fame is that they were the first female religious organisation to undertake the full range of social and charitable aims.

There had been many people engaged in these tasks before, and we’ve talked in the past about people like Marguerite Bourgeoys.

But they just had their little niche of interest, not the whole range.

ursulines place d'youville montreal canada august aout 2018There was a large hospital on the site too, as well as a very large and impressive church, if the old drawings are anything to go by.

But as the city expanded northwards and eastwards away from the river, and as the port of Montreal expanded along the banks, it was deemed necessary to make a new road network connecting the two.

And so the Ursulines had to go, and so did some of their buildings.

ursulines place d'youville montreal canada august aout 2018Luckily, not all was demolished. There are still some remains of the impressive buildings that are now classed as Historical Monuments.

And if you look very carefully in the roadway, you’ll see lines of granite setts – there are a couple in the photo here.

When they were doing some roadworks a while ago they came across the foundations of the old walls that had been demolished. They have marked them out on the road with the granite setts so that you can see the extent of the former buildings

grand trunk building rue mgcill montreal canada august aout 2018As I was making my way round to the Place d’Youville I noticed this building in the distance.

Whilst the building itself is impressive, the exciting thing about it is that over the door is carved the legend “Grand Trunk”.

This was one of the earliest of the main-line railway companies that was involved in the “railway wars” in Canada at the end of the 19th Century.

This was their magnificent Head Office in the Rue McGill, built 1899-1902.

Unfortunately it didn’t last long. The Grand Trunk was one of the biggest losers in the Railway War and it was coming back from a very unsuccessful fund-raising trip in Europe in 1912 that its president, Charles Hays, was drowned on the Titanic.

The company quickly went bankrupt and was taken over by the Government, forming part of the Canadian National rail network.

place d'youville montreal canada august aout 2018Montreal these days is basically a very large island, but back in the 16th Century it was several small ones.

The original settlement was on a small island bounded by the St Lawrence River and the Riviere St Pierre.

That latter river was eventually built over, and today, it’s the Place d’Youville, named for our friend Marguerite.

place d'youville montreal canada august aout 2018When we were here in October last year, you will remember seeing the excavations that were taking place just here.

This was the site of the city’s first indoor covered market which later became the Parliament Building for the country.

However the building was destroyed in 1849 in the riots that followed the passing of an Act emancipating the rebels of the 1830s and was never rebuilt. The Government of Canada moved elsewhere, much to the chagrin of the Québecois.

fire station place d'youville montreal canada august aout 2018A fire station was erected here in 1903 – 54 years too late to save the Parliament building unfortunately.

Today the fire brigade has moved elsewhere and the building is now a museum. I would have liked to have gone for a look around but I was rather pushed for time.

I still have quite a lot to do today and it’s late.

street washer montreal canada august aout 2018While I was standing by the side of the road taking photographs, I was interrupted by a street washer.

Mind you, he didn’t let me interrupt him, and carried on with whatever he was doing.

As a result, not only did I have a complimentary shoe-wash I had a complimentary ankle wash too and that certainly different. And it wasn’t just me either. Several other passers-by were in the same boat.

diesel locomotive 4707 port de montreal harbour canada august aout 2018Further interruptions were the order of the day too.

While I was a-wandering a little further on (which is rather better than walking by St Paul’s), I heard the familiar wail of a diesel locomotive siren in the distance so I legged it rather rapidly down the street.

Not rapidly enough, as it happens. I was defeated by the pair of locomotives, 4707 and his friend, disappearing into the distance down towards the dock.

And when I return home and have access to myJane’s Train Recognition Guide I’ll tell you all about them.

stele place d'youville montreal canada august aout 2018Instead, I went back to the Place d’Youville and to photograph the stele. Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that last year when I was here it was all fenced off and it was impossible to take a proper photo.

So having done that, Bane of Britain wandered away from the site, without actually going over there to read the plaque to discover what it says.

I really don’t know why you lot pay me, honestly I don’t.

You DO pay me, don’t you? All you need to do is to click on one of the links at the side and make your next order from Amazon that way. I receive a small commission on your orders, but it costs you nothing at all.

fire engines montreal canada august aout 2018I’m not sure at all what was going on here.

There I was, standing on the edge of the kerb and three or four fire engines pulled up, one after the other. Their blue and red flashing lights blazing away.

They performed some kind of danse macabre in the street and I’ve no idea why. There was nothing like any emergency that I could see in the vicinity and they didn’t seem to be in too much hurry.

old customs house port de montreal harbour canada august aout 2018I turned my attention to the building that I had come here to see – the old Customs House.

Ideally situated at the exit to the harbour, nothing could come into port without paying the appropriate duty to the Government and this was where they did it.

The Customs people aren’t there now- they’ve moved on down the road into a new modern building that is 10timesasbig, even though trade in the port has declined.

By now, my stomach was thinking that my throat had been cut and I needed to organise some food.

Not round here though as I still had some important things to do.

So onto the Metro at Victoria-OACI and off to Namur (the Metro station, not the town in Belgium) and the big Walmart there. But leaving the metro station was really difficult. The way that the doors are positioned there was a howling gale every time someone opened one of them and it was something of a struggle to pass through.

It all seems to have changed there. New buildings and the like and I couldn’t at first get my bearings. But there’s a Subway at the bottom end of the shopping complex so I installed myself there.

The restaurant next door had a free wifi service so I was able to patch in there and pick up the news.

It was a long hike to Walmart from there – longer than I remember it being – and it was something of a disappointment when I arrived. It seems to me that there are fewer and fewer items on the shelves these days and the place is looking rather untidy.

There weren’t all that many customers there either and I’ve no idea why.

There wasn’t as much choice as I was hoping but I managed eventually to kit myself out with the remainder of the articles that I need. Whether it’s all suitable I really don’t know, but I can’t do any better than this.

bulk barn namur montreal canada august aout 2018But here’s a shop that I hadn’t seen before, even though the staff tell me that they have been here for four years.

It’s called the Bulk Barn and it’s very reminiscent of the old “Weigh and Save” shops that we had in the UK in the late 70s and 80s.

And I’ll make a note of this place because they had everything in there that I could possibly use, including dehydrated vegetables for travelling purposes.

I’ll have to check to see if there are any of these places anywhere else on my route around Canada in the future.

traffic jam decarie montreal canada august aout 2018By now it was rush hour and time for me to be heading off.

I was lucky that I was on the train because had I been in a car I would probably still be there now judging by the amount of traffic on the Boulevard Decarie.

Total gridlock and that’s the kind of thing that makes me glad that I don’t live in a city these days. How would I cope with all of this.

Back at my hotel I organised my suitcase yet again to take into account my recent purchases. This suitcase is becoming rather uncomfortably full.

There was some work that needed to be done, so I caught up with that, and then decided to go out for tea.

mcgill students partying rue st catherine est montreal canada august aout 2018I walked the entire length of the rue St Catherine Est from my hotel almost all the way down to the bridge and I was not alone.

Apparently the students from McGill University are having their induction week this week and it’s party, party, party. Hordes of them freaking out all over the place.

It made me feel quite old to watch them. These days they don’t look anything like 18 year-olds at all and that’s all very confusing.

But the big surprise for me was the pizza place that was advertising vegan pizzas – yes, vegan pizzas! I’ve never ever seen vegan pizzas advertised in a mainstream pizza place before so I went in to give the place some support.

And delicious it was too.

That was me organised (such as I can be) for the day. I retreated to my hotel and decided to have an early night. I need it too after all of this.

Tuesday 19th September 2017 – HAVING BEEN …

… out like a light during the evening, I found it difficult to drop off to sleep last night. Long after midnight and I was still trying to drop off.

When I finally did drop off, it was a difficult night with tossing and turning and all of that, and it was a struggle to leave the bed when the alarm went off.

But leave the bed I did and after breakfast and a little work on the laptop, I was out on the road by 09:30.

First disappointment was at the docks. There were a couple of big ships in there but there were road works, the bridge across the canal was out of order and, try as I might, I couldn’t find my way out there.

In the end I gave it up as a bad job and headed out of town.

tracel de cap rouge quebec canada september septembre 2017First stop has of course to be our famous Tracel de Cap Rouge out on the edge of town.

Tracel is of course a French word and it’s where the English word “trestle” come from.

And this is probably the most magnificent trestle railway bridge in the whole of North America, even if it is made of iron and not of wood.

cap rouge quebec canada september septembre 2017Cap Rouge is said to be the site of the first permanent settlement in North America.

In an effort to establish themselves in the New World in competition with the Spanish And Portuguese, the French sent colonists here in 1541.

However scurvy and what has been enigmatically described as “deteriorating relations with the natives” led to the surviving settlers being recalled to France.

cap rouge quebec canada september septembre 2017There was a road – the Chemin du Roy – which was the first public highway in Nouvelle France, running between Quebec and Montreal.

I spent a good while over the years tracing its original route although much has been lost to modernisation and coastal erosion.

I never found an original plan of the route, but my assumption is that the road hugged the coast around here, somewhere along the line of tbat footpath.

chemin du roy quebec canada september septembre 2017Like I said, coastal erosion did for a lot of the original route.

You can see here where the official sign (which don’t necessarily follow the route, but never mind) points off to the right, but there’s a nice straight road ahead.

That disappears off down there and comes to a sudden stop at the bank in the bend of a river.

chemin du roy neuville quebec canada september septembre 2017Yes, don’t count on the official signs.

The Chemin du Roy is signposted to follow the highway which is to the left of the photo just here

But when you see the orientation of this traditional Quebec cottage and the pathway that passes in front of it, it’s easy to imagine where the original trace of the Chemin might have been.

football ground neuville quebec canada september septembre 2017One of the things that we do when we are driving around is to look for proper football pitches.

They are quite common these days but when I first started coming to Canada they were few and far between.

This is the first one that I ever noticed – in Neuville – and access to photograph it was always difficult. But today, for some reason, it wasn’t a problem to go down there and photograph it properly.

A little earlier I talked about road alignments along the Chemin du Roy.

possible trace of chemin du roy donnacona quebec canada september septembre 2017The area around Donnacona has been badly hit by coastal erosion and so tracing the original route is quite difficult.

But seeing a house orientated in this fashion with the trace of a track running past the front of a house, it’s easy to imagine where the original course might have been.

And here we had a moment of excitement.

As I pulled up here, I noticed an old guy peeking out at me from his window across the road. And he walked out onto his porch for a closer look.

“Are you having a problem with this?” I shouted across to him. He turned tail and walked back into his house.

rue du station portneuf quebec canada september septembre 2017When you see on an old map a street called “rue du Station”, you have to go to investigate … “well, one of us does” – ed.

I wasn’t expecting much because if you think that the Beeching cuts in the UK were severe, they were absolutely nothing compared to what happened to the railway network in Canada.

There are a few freight lines still operating, but passenger service outside the major cities has gone more-or-less completely. There’s nothing here in the former “rue du Station” to indicate what might have been a railway station.

bombardier auto-neige quebec canada september septembre 2017But this is much more like it, isn’t it?

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that we have seen one of these before in 2010 when we were in Goose Bay.

And here’s another one – a Bombardier “Auto-Neige” from the late 1930s, I reckon.

It’s for sale too, and if I had room in my suitcase this would be coming back to Europe with me because I think that it’s gorgeous.

ile richelieu deschambault quebec canada september septembre 2017On the two occasions that I’ve been to Deschambault I’ve been soaked with rain and I’ve never been able to photograph the town properly.

One of the places that I came here today to look for was the Ile Richelieu. The navigable channel up the St Lawrence is quite narrow here and there are rocks and rapids and the island was the icing on the cake for any defensive force.

The French built a fort out there on the island to control the passage upriver but a combination of a rolling fog, a very high tide and a strong wind enabled a British fleet to slip by and on to Montreal before the French could bring their guns into action.

hotel de ville deschambault quebec canada september septembre 2017Deschambault regularly appears in lists of the most beautiful villages in Quebec and it’s a listing that isn’t undeserved. That building over there is, believe it or not, the Town Hall

It’s not the only building in the place that’s in that particular “North American ante-bellum” style. The convent (every town worth its salt in Quebec has to have its convent) is also in the same style.

chemin du roy moulin de la chevrotiere quebec canada september septembre 2017In our quest to fill out the missing gaps in the Chemin du Roy I’d seen an old track away by the Moulin de la Chevrotiere that would correspond with what I knew about the original trace of the route

I went to have a look, and I could identify ditches that resembled those that Becancour and Lanouiller – the architects – had specified for the sides of the road, and the stones of the type that they had specified to be placed in the marshy parts of the roadway.

hydro quebec post grondines canada september septembre 2017We are told that at Grondines there’s a huge submarine electric cable that runs underneath the St Lawrence

This takes electricity from the Lower St Lawrence hydro plants (such as the Manic and Outardes complexes) over and into the USA.

There’s no visible trace of the cable from what I’ve been able to find, but this “Hydro Quebec” transmission post just outside the town might give us a clue as to where the cable might disappear into the earth.

windmill grondines quebec canada september septembre 2017If the village of Grondines has any claim to fame, it might be for its windmill.

When a Peace Treaty was signed with the Iroquois and the land was subsequently parcelled out to the local gentry – the Seigneurie System – one of the duties of the Seigneur was to provide a mill for the peasantry to grind their corn.

A water mill wouldn’t be much good on a slow-flowing river because the river would be frozen up for four months per year.

A great many windmills were thus erected by some of the Seigneurs, several of which survive today.

I arrive at Trois Rivieres just in time to be caught in the rush-hour traffic. And seeing as there are major roadworks in the town I reckon that I lose a good hour of my time.

gilles villeneuve museum bertheirville quebec canada september septembre 2017I have to hit the Highway instead and arrive in Berthierville just as the light is starting to go.

Berthierville was the home of Formula One racing driver Gilles Villeneuve and it’s another place that I’ve always managed to miss while I’ve been out and about on my travels.

But today I make a determined effort and actually manage to track it down this year.

notre dame des champs repentigny quebec canada september septembre 2017One last thing to do, and that’s in Repentigny down the road.

That’s to track down the hideously modern Church of Our Lady of the Fields – Notre Dame des Champs.

I’ve absolutely no idea what the designer of the church – Roger D’Astous – must have been smoking when he was drawing up the plans, but he’s managed to produce something that is so hideous that it’s almost attractive.

By now I’m running extremely late and there’s no chance of reaching Montreal tonight. But there’s a motel down the road that’s very tired and very shabby – and also very cheap.

They do me an excellent deal on the room, which is very good news, and I celebrate by having a shower and washing my clothes.

Pasta, mushrooms and tomato sauce make a nice meal, and then I crash out while working on the laptop.

I’m definitely beginning to feel the pace now.

Tuesday 18th August 2015 – LAST DAY IN MONTREAL

Last night’s sleep wasn’t anything like as good as the previous night’s, but that can be explained by the fact that as soon as I came in last night, I drank about a litre of spruce beer.

Being on my travels didn’t help matters either. I’d spent much of the night in the company of a young person who was having gender issues. He or she had half-undergone the hormone therapy necessary to change sex, but then had had a change of mind and not only stopped the treatment but was changing back. This led on from here to me taking a taxi – one of mine as it happens – to go to a white house somewhere. The driver was completely new – I was his first customer – and the journey was interesting to say the least, including undertaking another driver at a road junction and overshooting the destination. The driver said “well that was a bit of a disaster, wasn’t it?” to which I replied “don’t worry. We all have to start somewhere”.

So after breakfast I cracked on with some more work on the computer and this took me right up until 11:00. I had my airport shuttle booked for 11:15 and didn’t want to miss it, so I made sure that it arrived on time by pouring myself a full cup of coffee at 11:14 precisely. Works every time!

It took 5 minutes to get to the airport from where this hotel is, and I spent the time helping out a couple of people who needed to travel into the city. There was a 747 bus already in at the stop and the driver took 10 minutes to sort himself out, during which time a woman with three kids came onto the bus. She told them to sit down “as it’s going to be a long ride”
“And if I know anything about Montreal bus drivers, a wild ride too” I added.

And sure enough, off we shot and arrived at the coach station at the rue de Berri just 35 minutes later, shaken but not stirred.

Ten dollars it cost to leave my bag in the consigne, which is quite expensive, but then imagine what it would have cost in time and so on to go all the way back to the hotel to pick it up and then lug it all the way back here through the city later this evening. This had to be the sensible option – the hotel shuttle to the airport and then the 747 bus directly to the coach terminal.

And I can’t believe this but in a Dollar Store just round the corner from the bus station as I continue my stroll down rue St Catherine Est I find exactly the right adapter for the Swiss electrical plugs. That’s an amazing find, and something else to add to the travel bag

typical flats apartments montreal quebec canadaThis is a beautiful little street isn’t it – a pile of beautiful little houses down there and some typical Quebec maisonettes of the type that you see in all of the urban areas.

Balconies and open staircases – must be beautiful to sit outside on them on a lovely summer’s evening but it must be hell, absolute hell in the middle of a Quebec winter trying to get to your front door.

ouimetoscope cinema rue st catherine est montreal quebec canadaBut why I stopped was to look at the corner of the street at this new building is that it’s the site of the Ouimetoscope.

That was the very first cinema to be opened in Montreal – in January 1906 in fact, and the following year was rebuilt to be come the largest cinema in North America at the time.

piano publique montreal quebec canadaThere’s some kind of scheme going on here in Montreal at the moment – what they call the Piano Publique. They have dumped a load of pianos about in different parts of the city and are encouraging people to sit down and play them.

This guy isn’t too bad at all as it happens. I could sit and listen to him for quite a while, but I just don’t have the time.

complexe bourbon rue st catherine est montreal quebec canadaLook at this gorgeous art-deco building here on the corner of St Catherine and Alexandre Deseve, at 1560 rue St Catherine Est. There’s been a “Club Sandwich” here in the past as well as an Irish bar and the Hotel Bourbon.

It’s the Complexe Bourbon, quite a favourite spot in the city in the past, and at one time was up for sale for $8,500,000, but that was several years ago. It looks as if it will be pulled down before its much older and what a shame because it’s beautiful.

sacre coeur de jesus church rue alexandre deseve montreal quebec canadaThis church was formerly the Sacre Coeur de Jesus down at the end of the rue Alexandre Deseve.

The church doesn’t function as a church any more and the big house at the side, the ancienne Presbytere, is now a centre d’accueil pour les jeunes en difficulte – possibly the Association les Chemins du Soleil which is situated, according to a poster that I saw plastered about the church, at 1155 rue Alexandre Deseve.

parc charles campbell rue alexandre deseve montreal quebec canadaAt the parc Charles Campbell, a lawyer and philanthropist of the 19th Century who left all of his money to create parks for children to amuse themselves in the open air, they are having a Neighbourhood Fair tonight, with entertainment, food and all kinds of stuff going on.

And you might not be able to see him but there’s a guy sitting in that tree just there pulling that banner up at the far end of that rope.

I had lunch at the Subway down here, asked once again if i wanted cheese with my “nothing but crudites”, and ended up by dropping half of it on the floor and making a huge mess everywhere.

olympic stadium rue sherbrooke est montreal quebec canada But after lunch I strolled down to the metro station to tale the train all the way down to Honore Beauregard, the end of the line

That’s the view down rue Sherbrooke est down towards the famous Olympic Stadium and its leaning tower. Anyway, I’ll walk down here for a little while, the old Chemin du Roy, and see what I can find, if anything.

Right by the Langelier metro station is a Motel le marquis. Cheapest room is about $80 – not too bad, I suppose. I’ll have to remember that.

And from here I caught a bus that took me all the way down the Boulevard Langelier towards the Galeries d’Anjou.

value village galeries d'anjou rue jean talon montreal quebec canadaThat’s all of the big buildings near the end of the autoroute at the junction between Highway 40 and Highway 25 there and the Galeries d’Anjou are somewhere to the right of that.

And I’ve found the Value Village! Furthermore, it’s 30% off on Tuesdays for senior citizens! Spend! Spend! Spend! But I could only find one book and one CD that interested me. Rather a waste of a senior citizen’s discount if you ask me.

Canadian Tire have tents at $29:99 and $34:99- that’s the three-seater one which is 7 feet wide so my bed will fit in there quite comfortably whereas the cheaper one is only 6 feet at its widest and that might be a struggle. Then we start to get into the realm of big tents after that. I mean, why would you have a tent to sleep 14 people? I don’t even know 14 people, let alone 14 people with whom I’d like to go away on holiday, but then they do go in for big families in Quebec.

In rue Jean Talon I’ve just seen the rustiest cars that I’ve ever seen, any of mine and the Cortina parked down my field since 1997 included. I didn’t take a photo of it because it isn’t the polite thing to do but it’s so rotten that the windscreen is about to drop out – the whole windscreen surround including the roof corners have just gone. Makes that grey Cortina look good and that’s stood in a field for 18 years.

And it’s suddenly occurred to me what I haven’t seen at all ever since I’ve been in Canada on Saturday, and I haven’t seen a cat.

sports ground rue jean talon montreal quebec canadaThis is the sports ground at the rue Jean Talon and way over there behind the floodlights in the distance and across the motorway behind it is the motel where I stayed the very first night that I was ever in Canada.

But what had caught my eye was the drinking fountain so I had a good wash to cool me down, filled my cap with water and stuck it on my head. All of the cold water ran off down the back of my neck and believe me, it was the best feeling that I had ever had.

I got to see one of the new Transits from close up and I reckon that there are differences to the European ones inside. In fact there seem to be quite a few differences so I wonder what has happened here that the differences haven’t been carried forward, because it is reasonabily impressive.

There’s no model designation on it either, which surprises me – just a ” Ford”, and made in Kansas City judging by a sticker on the windscreen. Body number begins 1FT(or 2)NR1CM

new bank buildings rue jean talon montreal quebec canadaThere’s a little process of gentrification going on in the rue Jean Talon – it’s been a bit down-at-heel in places but in other places there are bits of building going on and it’s all starting to look quite nice

These new bank buildings are on the corner of the Boulevard Viau and rue Jean Talon and are typical of what is going on all around here

I walked on quite a way past Viau, past Pius IX and past a couple of metro stations and by this time I was starting to lose interest. Time was slowly passing on, the only pizza places that I has passed (I really fancied a pizza tonight and I had my cheese all at the ready) were these ethic places full of grease, and I was hot, sticky, exhausted and footsore.

So I hopped onto the metro all the way to Snowdon where I still didn’t find the pizza that I wanted (and I had my vegan cheese all ready too) and eneded up back at the falafel place at the Cote-des-Neiges, for want of anything better.

It was just outside here that I met my first traditional bus driver. There was a bus stop just outside the restaurant and there was a bus just pulling up. I asked him if he was going to the Snowdon metro station down at the bottom of the hill, to which he replied that I was facing the wrong way – the station was just “back there”. And then he drove off.

The station “back there” was in fact the “Cote des Neiges” so I don’t know whether he was having a mental blank or whether he was just being difficult. Anyway, I trudged back up to the Cote des Neiges metro station and went round to the coach station.

Having rescued my suitcase I ended up chatting with two women, one aged 84 and the other aged 91, who were regular bus travellers, even at their age. They were off to visit their third sister somewhere in the USA. This passed the time quite nicely until my bus pulled in, and then I was off.

We went over the Cartier Bridge and then into Longueuil for more passengers, and then we were off. I curled up on my seat and dozed off to sleep.

Sunday 6th April 2014 – WE’RE UP AGAINST IT NOW!

The 1st Xi’s match at St Priest was one that Pionsat needed to win today to keep their survival hopes alive, but they went down 2=0. They are now sucked deep into a relegation battle and have lost their advantage.

But to be fair, it’s not entirely their fault. It’s true that they’ve conceded silly goals at times, but their attack has usually made up for that. But the big issue is that in Division 1, there have been 6 regional pools, giving a total of 60 teams. A mid-table performance is what Pionsat usually manage to do.

However, the Football Association here decided that Division 4 needed bolstering, and so instead of relegating 2 teams at the nd of last season, relegated three from each pool in Division 3. That was what caused Pionsat’s 2nd XI to be demoted when we all thought that they were safe.

This cascaded down through the pyramid and at the top level, Division 1, they simply reduced the level to 4 pools, or 40 clubs. Now, what was a mid-table performance last year is a relegation struggle.

Add to that the fact that with Matthieu injured and Francois retired, there’s no goalkeeper. Michael Bucaud has performed better than anyone could have hoped and has certainly done the team proud, but it isn’t the same.

I was also told that the trainer walked out on the club just before the start of the season and took three players with him to his new club. How true this is, I really don’t know and it’s not my place to pass comment, but all of this sums up Pionsat’s struggle.

frederic poumerol goalkeeper fcpsh fc pionsat st hilaire st priest sunday 6 avril 2014 division 1 puy de dome ligue franceMichael, who was injured in goal last week, was unable to play and so young Frederic took over again for today.

He certainly didn’t let the side down either – in fact he looked pretty useful and made a couple of really good stops, including a brave save with his feet, going the wrong way, in a one-on-one with a St Priest attacker.

fcpsh fc pionsat st hilaire st priest score opening goal woodwork sunday 6 avril 2014 division 1 puy de dome ligue franceIt was the first goal that was a killer and we hadn’t had even 2 minutes of play. They surged forward from the kickoff and hit the bar with a blistering shot from about 15 yards out.

That ballooned up into the air and the follow-up shot – St Priest being the quicker to react – likewise smacked against the bar and bounced down and away. However the linesman (the home linesman, it has to be said) signalled that the ball had crossed the line.

fcpsh fc pionsat st hilaire st priest score second goal woodwork sunday 6 avril 2014 division 1 puy de dome ligue franceThe second goal was also something of a sucker punch too. Pionsat were too busy disputing a decision to respond to a quickly-taken free kick, and that let in a St Priest attacker.

Not much that Frederic could do about that, but then as we know, the Pionsat defence does have a habit of switching off at vital moments. It’s not the first time.

Strangely enough, this was one of Pionsat’s better defensive displays. St Priest had a player, the n°10, who was streets ahead of everyone else on the field, and it showed when he managed to wriggle free and find some space. However, for most of the match Vianney and Alex were clinging to him like a limpet.

And Alex’s performance in the centre of the defence was the best I’ve seen for quite a while from anyone. He’s played like this a few times and he’s be my first name on the team sheet every week if he could keep going like this. Apart from the two efforts that led to goals, St Priest didn’t have much of a look-in and it was a dour struggle in midfield for much of the game.

Pionsat’s attack looked tired, though, and it seems as if the fire has gone out in a couple of the players. They need to find some way of kindling some enthusiasm because they play so much better when they are enjoying themselves.

And so what else?

Well, shock, horrow, there I was, lying in bed this morning for quite a while, thinking to myself that it must be late and I ought to get up, only to find when I finally did leave my pit that it was all of 08:35. I don’t think that I’ve ever been awake that early on a Sunday morning.

I’d had a busy night too. I’d been to a street concert given by Mark Knopfler, featuring songs off his Golden Heart album. We were having to stand round the side of the stage and the camera was filming around the corner, almost as if it were a bootleg recording and we weren’t supposed to be there.

As the xoncert continued, I found myself in a bed, right in front of tha stage. A girl who had slept in it earlier expressed surprise that I could sleep there like that, to which I replied that I had a lot to do when the concert was over and so I needed to be fresh.

She wondered how on earth I could sleep through all of the noise, to which my answer was that it comes with necessity and practice.

After breakfast I tidied up a little, and I can now see the floor in places up here. That is progress. But when I became fed up with doing that, I carried on with the web pages.

After returning from the footy, I completely jigged them around to make a proper circular tour (in fact, it’s a figure-of-8 tour of Quebec now) and they are all on line. This link is for the Chemin du Roy and this link is for the walking tour of Quebec.

Have a good read, and I hope that you enjoy that as much as I enjoyed writing it all.

Let me know if any of the links are bad.

Thursday 13th March 2014 – I’VE HAD ANOTHER DAY …

… where I’ve not been in too much of a hurry to leave my bed.

I put that down to still being awake at 03:45 this morning, and so getting up at … errr … 10:20 is not too unreasonable.

I’ve hardly done any work either – well – not that kind of work anyway. The house remains practically untouched. But noticing when I went downstairs that the batteries were aleady fully-charged, and at 12:30 there was 50.5 amps going into the dump load and the wires were pretty warm, that called for action. I plugged an extension cable into the overcharge circuit and wired the 12-volt fridge in. That calmed everything down a little. The water still got hot (68°C) but the wires stayed cool-ish and the fridge worked.

I’ll leave it like that until I fix up the new batteries that will replace the existing creaky ones and then I’ll wire in the fridge into the permanent circuit for the summer.

I threw out some food and veg peelings that I had forgotten to deal with before I left here (some of them could have walked to the compost bin on their own) and then unloaded part of Caliburn. For lunch I went to fetch the bread – to find that the boulanger had forgotten to come on Tuesday, and that was really the only reason why I had rushed home.

I had to go down the road to the Intermarché at Pionsat to buy a baguette.


This afternoon I updated the Trois Rivieres pages of my Canada website

. I took a pile more photos of the town when I was there last year and so they needed to be added on and the commentary written. I’ve also reviewed a few subsequent pages of my drive down the Chemin du Roy

and that has spawned a couple of new pages too.

So I’ve not been idle.

But I do realise now why I try not to work on the computer between 19:00 and 21:00. I get so carried away with what I’m doing that I forget to make tea and I end up going hungry.

And it’s 5 years since my dear friend Liz departed. I can’t believe that it’s been so long. I hope that she is sleeping peacefully. My abiding memory is just before she went for her operation, she was making out a list of names.
“Are these the people that I need to contact to let them know your news?” I asked.
“Ohh no” she replied. “If it all goes wrong, this is a list of the people I’m going to come back to haunt”.

Tuesday 3rd September 2013 – IT MANAGED NOT TO RAIN TOO MUCH TODAY.

And that is always a blessing. After a restless night with high winds, trucks again starting up at 04:00 in the morning and diesel horns from locomotives at the level crossing about 2 miles away (you have no idea how far sound can travel in open countryside in the dead of night) I was back on the road (or, at least, the Chemin du Roy) again.

vestiges of chemin du roy portneuf quebecThis is the kind of thing that I’m looking for – you can see in front of this house near Portneuf the low wall and flattened surface (the Chemin du Roy was a plank road made of cedar). The bits of gravel close to the camera and farther away behind give the game away a little and it’s nothing like as easy as this to find them normally.

Still, it all keeps me out of mischief, I suppose and it’s quite interesting as I keep on encountering all kinds of unexpected things while I’m on my travels.

pont du fort jacques cartier donnacona quebecAnother thing I’ve been looking for is the site of Fort Jacques Cartier. It’s the last place in Nouvelle France that held out against the English.

Strangely enough though, there’s no mention of it anywhere and although I had the co-ordinates (which you can’t reach) there’s not a sign or anything, quite surprising when you consider just how militant Québec is. In fact if I hadn’t seen this bridge and its name, I would have been convinced that I had the co-ordinates totally wrong.

Into the city of Québec and past my beloved Tracel de Cap rouge which I’ve told you about before, and then into the city centre to take some photos that I missed when I was here last time – which you can see on the index page for the Tracel photos.

interior quebec railway stationThe Quebec Railway Station was high on my list of places to visit. The outside is magnificent, one of thse typical Nouvelle France fairytale buildings, but the interior is superb as you can see. It’s kept all of its splendour which makes a change, seeing as how normally allof this kind of stuff is swept away in a wave of vandalism as we saw in other places in the swinging 60s.

Strawberry Moose made a few friends in Québec too, but that quickly turned sour when someone called him a toutou. Definitely a moment, that was.

Tomorrow I’m leaving the St Lawrence because I have other fish to fry, and so I’ll head for the hills and an early night. See you all soon.

Monday 2nd September 2013 – AT FIRST, I WROTE …

… “Monday 2nd December” for the title of today’s posting. Not an error, as you might think, but a Freudian slip because it is winter here today. Black skies, lashing down of rain, hurricane force winds (trees uprooted and all that kind of thing in Montreal) – so much so that it wasn’t until 16:30 or thereabouts that I took to the road, all heaters in the Dodge blazing away.

hydro electric plant riviere ste anne de la peradeIt wasn’t like that at first though. Dawn came early to my little spec on the bluff above the Riviere Ste Anne and it looked as if it might be a lovely day – and I know that the dawn came early because I sa it, having somehow managed to park in the middle of a moquito nest and having been bitten to pieces during the night. I didn’t even cook a meal for fear of disturbing them.

Anyway, as the morning drew on, the day clouded over and as I was fuelling uo the Dodge, the heavens opened and that was that. I found a convenient motorway service area and parked up. With a coffee and an internet connection, I attacked a pile of paperwork and read a book.

By about 16:30 the weather improved a little in the sense that it stopped raining and we just had occasional showers. I hit the road and went off to the village of Deschambault.

This was an important stage on the Chemin du Roy and although the village has altered considerably over the last 275 years, it is said that much of the traces of the original 1734 road are still said to be there if you know where to look.

traces chemin du roy church deschambault quebecJudging by the alignment of the church and the presbytery, and the site of the old fort that Champlain had built against the Iroquois (you can see part of the wall as the boundary wall of the cemetery) I reckon that this might be a good-enough bet.

It continues along the headland from here to the new road, but about 400 metres behind me is a sudden stop. Coastal erosion, particularly along the clay cliffs, was always a serious problem and one of the main reasons for some serious alignment of the road.

Another place on the route is a town called Portneuf, about 10kms further along. Someone shored up a river bank and this led to dramatic changes in the action of the river and created a fine port for the goélettes, the little ships that plied up and down the St Lawrence, of which you can see long-since abandoned here. Gradually, the port was expanded until there is now a quay that stretches more than one kilometre into the St Lawrence, and even the biggest ships can tie up here, although not that they ever do these days.

atlantic erie canadian shipping lines portneuf st lawrenceThe quay is actually situated right at the apex of one of the sharpest meanders in the whole of the river and there are some delightful optical illusions with a long-range telephoto lens as you capture photos of ships such as the Canadian Shipping Line’s Atlantic Erie fighting the current and the meander and having to make a hard-over turn to port to round the headland without colliding with the quay.

And look at the waves – you can see what I mean about the howling wind and the storm that we were having.

Dusk came pretty quickly after this, which was no surprise, and so finding myself back on Highway 40 I retraced my steps to the Motorway Service Area to batten down the hatches for tonight. I’m not going to be doing anything else.

Saturday 31st August 2013 – I’M NOT SURE WHAT HAPPENED …

… last night but I closed my eyes for a couple of seconds at about 18:30 and that was the last thing that I remember until about 07:00 the following morning.

Well, not quite. I had another exciting dream again, which shows you just how comfortable I am inside this Dodge at night. I had exchanged Caliburn for Terry’e van and another car (as if I am ever likely to exchange Caliburn for anything, but never mind). On my way back to work after Friday lunchtime, I parked the van in a narrow alley near to work, a place with high brick walls all around. I decided that I didn’t want to stay here because I’d be stuck in the traffic for leaving, but I couldn’t move the van from its position. Driving out is not the szme angle as reversing in, of course.

overnight parking service area highway 40 lavaltrie quebec canadaAnyway, a nearby truck starting up his motor shattered my reverie otherwise I would still be there now, so calm and peaceful was my little neck of the woods at this transport café that is, would you believe, actually on the central reservation of the motorway.

And after a visit to the cleanest beichstuhl that I have ever seen in a transport café and breakfast of coffee and bagels with strawberry jam and maple syrup I sat down and brought up to date all of my notes and photos in a marathon session

vestiges chemin du roy quebec canadaOnce I’d organised that, I spent half an hour reading a book – making the most of a quiet morning, and then set off in search of the vestiges of the Chemin du Roy. There are loads of remains of this road, which has been constantly rebuilt over the 300 years of its existence, due to floods, erosion, avalanches, earthquakes, attacks by Iroquois, bridge collapses, fires and the like, some of these vestiges being signposted and some not so and open to speculation.

I’m quite enjoying spotting suggestive-looking earthworks and depressions, and trying to link them up into a consistent route and one day I’m sure that I’ll have the route traced out as much as is possible.
Lunch stop was at Trois Rivières, one of my favourite cities in Canada although far from the nicest of course. I was here at the same time as the Labour Day weekend celebrations and there was a lot going on, circuses, street performers, a local market, and the whole place was heaving with people and was quite exciting.

police transport T3 mobile electric scooter trois rivières quebec canadaNot as exciting though as looking at the local police on their new modes of transport. These are called T3 Mobiles, electric powered, with disc brakes and can travel at seppds of up to 30kph – and much better than a pushbike as I was reliably informed because, as you might have guessed, I went up to the coppers and asked them about them. No point in being here and not satisfying your curiosity.

I had a wander around the town in the afternoon and visited a few more bits that I had missed. I’ll have to pad out my Trois Rivieres pages even more now, and that will keep me out of mischief for a while.

As it grew dark I headed for the highway to a transport café that I had seen and I shall dig myself in here for the night. Hopefully not for the morning though – I’ve lots to do.

Friday 30th August 2013 – I’VE HIT THE ROAD, JACQUES

dodge grand caravan avis hire car FGV9092Up early again though and brought all my photos up to date (I wish I could say the same about the notes, though) and having made a couple of trips to the car, it’s now loaded up and Strawberry Moose and I are now comfortably installed inside.

Once we finally managed to leave the car park (which wasn’t easy) we headed off across the city and rhe traffic to go to look at the rapids of Lachine. This GPS that I bought all those years ago is really doing the stuff and I am impressed with that as I am with my galvanised steel dustbin

rotten dodge saturn verdun montrealFirst stop was however to find some food for lunch for the next few days and so I headed for a convenient supermarket. But never mind the food for a moment, take a look at this car.

It’s a Dodge Saturn, and let me ask you, when did you last see a car as rotten as this on a British road? I have to think long and hard and maybe 30 years ago you might have seen one like this. I don’t even remember any of my tawis being this bad.

The area that we are in, by the way, is clearly an impoverished area of the city judging by just about everything. it’s called Verdun, and the name seems to have been inspired by a group of soldiers returning to Canada after World War I and having witnessed the French city of Verdun after a FRanco-German artillery duel there.

chutes rpids lachine montreal canadaThe rapids at Lachine, for all their hype, aren’t all that much to write home about and in a sense are disappointing. But they were certainly much more disappointing to Jacques Cartier who was hoping to find the promised North-West Passage to “La Chine” and the Indies through the St Lawrence and instead came to a shuddering halt at the rapids.

Still it was a nice morning and the walk through the park was very pleasant in the sun so that was something.

After lunch I drove back through the city and along the road that passes by the docks and out to Repentigny where I rejoined my previous quest for the search for the remains of the Chemin du Roy – the old highway of the 17th Century that was built to connect Montreal and Quebec. I managed to do a little work but was interruped by a thunderstorm and driving rain. With that I scuttled to shelter, a motorway service area on the Highway at the back of Lavaltrie, and I’ll be staying here for the night. No point in moving on in this weather.

Tuesday 29th May 2012 – ALL ALONG THE WATCHT … errrr … ST LAWRENCE

sentier des roitelets riviere des vases quebec canadaI’ll remember this spot again, that’s for sure. I’m at the parking for the Sentier des Roitelets right by the Riviere des Vases on the shore of the St Lawrence River.

Hidden in here behind the hedge I was out like a light and didn’t feel a thing until the dawn.Even the rainstorm didn’t awaken me. And this is the first time since we’ve had rain – on the way to Harrington Harbour several weeks ago, I reckon.

riviere des vases quebec canadaDo you see the remains of a wooden quay just here?

This area was comparatively well-populated 100 years ago. The eel-grass that grows along here has a special quality that makes it spring back into shape after it has been compressed by a weight and so was in great demand for car seats.

Families lived here and harvested the grass, and ships used to come from Detroit to pick it up and take it to the car factories. But a change in manufacturing technique rendered it obsolete when a substitute was found and by 1934 the industry had collapsed and everyone had moved away.

noel au chateau riviere du loup quebec canadaI’d been out to look at the ferry terminal at Riviere du Loup (where I’d landed on my first trip over here) and on the way back into town, I encountered this building.

It’s the Noel au Chateau, a bit of the “Neuschwanstein Castle” transported to the wilds of Canada, built in 1971 and now used as an exhibition centre and a small amusement park out here. It’s certainly different.

Church of St Patrice riviere du loup quebec canadaI’d been through here before on my first trip but I didn’t stop to photograph the town. Now’s the time to put that right.

This is the Church of St Patrice, the building of which started in 1855 but due to a lack of funds, wasn’t completed until 1883. The church then almost immediately caught fire and burnt down, just like everything else in Eastern Canada.

harbour riviere du loup quebec canadafrom up here on the steps of the church there’s a splendid view of the harbour. It’s a shame that there isn’t a ship coming in or going out, to add something to the photograph.

But over there on the far shore is the Noel au Chateau, where I had been just now.

Beyond there is the Charlevoix but there’s little chance of seeing that today with the low cloud that’s hovering over the St Lawrence.

catholic youth labour organisation united states consulate riviere du loup quebec canadaThat building just there is the headquarters of the Riviere du Loup Catholic Youth Labour Organisation, but its claim to fame dates from a good while before then.

In fact, between 1928 and 1931 it was the office of the United States Consulate. And that, of course, begs the question “how substantial was the United States presence in this area if it necessitated the presence of the United States Consulate?”

highway 132 st lawrence river quebec canadaThe road that runs along the southern shore of the St Lawrence, Highway 132, is called the Route des Navigateurs, the “Road of the Navigators”.

Whilst it’s nothing like as attractive as Highway 138 on the north shore, it does have its moments here and there such as just here with the beautiful cliffs in the background. If it takes me through places like this, I shan’t be complaining too much.

agricultural land st lawrence river south shore quebec canadaThere’s another difference between the southern shore and the northern shore, and that’s related to the land use.

Whilst the northern shore is rocky and concentrates mostly on forestry products and tourism, the flood plain here on the southern shore is very fertile and there’s a considerable amount of agriculture here. You can tell just how much by the number of silos that you can see in this photograph.

original site of kamouraska quebec canadaThis is the original site of the town of Kamouraska, settled between 1696 and 1791.

During that period, it was the civil and religious centre of the south shore of the St Lawrence east of Riviere-Ouelle. There were two churches here, and there were over 1300 burials in the cemetery. No individual graves seem to be recorded but there are these commemorative tablets listing the inhabitants of the cemetery grouped by family name.

Apart from several anonymes, we have a few tablets for Innu, Malicetes and so on, as well as un homme noir nommé Pierre – “a black man called Pierre”.

church riviere ouelle quebec canadaThis is the church of the town of Riviere-Ouelle.

This small town of about 1,000 inhabitants is a very sad relic of what was at one time the most important town on this part of the southern shore of the St Lawrence. 150-odd years ago there were over 4,000 inhabitants.

old harbour river wall riviere ouelle quebec canadaThanks to the railway line that was here, it was a vibrant port on the St Lawrence and the terminus of an important ferry that called at several places on the north shore.

It does have a modern claim to fame in that there’s a bar laitiere, an ice cream parlour, on the edge of town that serves the most delicious vegan ice cream that I have ever tasted, although not today in this weather.

annual festival of sea shanties strawberry moose saint jean port joli festival of sea shanties quebec canadaOne thing for which the town of Saint-Jean-Port-Joli is famous is for the annual Festival of Sea Shanties.

It goes without saying that Strawberry Moose fancies himself as an entrant after his antics in the baggage hold of the aeroplane on the way over.

This is something that takes place every August and so he was quite keen to know my travel plans for late summer this year.

And when I informed him that it might be a possibility, he spent a happy half-an-hour practising while I wandered off to take a few photographs of the area.

church de saint jean port joli quebec canadaWhilst you admire the church, which dates from 1779 and is famous for its collection of sculptures, let me tell you that Saint-Jean-Port-Joli is one of the oldest settlements on this part of the St Lawrence.

It dates from about 1677, although you won’t find much dating to before 1759 as the village was burned by General Wolfe’s Fraser Highlanders during the invasion of 1759

windmill saint jean port joli quebec canadaThese days it’s a very important tourist destination with the Sea Shanty Fesitval of course, and also the marina and an annual symposium of wood sculpture. In fact, several wood sculptors have chosen the town as their home venue

It also has a windmill. All seigneurs were obliged to provide a corn mill for their habitants and whilst many were water powered, some were powered by the wind. This one, one of the few surviving windmills, won’t be doing all that much until they cut down the tree that is in front of it, shading it from the wind.

levis ship st lawrence river quebec canadaMy road takes me into the town of Levis and whilst I’m stopped on the old quayside overlooking the St Lawrence River and the city of Quebec to eat my butty, this beauty goes steaming past my parking space, steaming underneath the skyscrapers.

I’ve seen a couple of ships on the river, but this one is my candidate for today’s “Ship of the Day”, even if she is badly in need of a good coat or two of paint.

st ignace sorel st lawrence ferry quebec canadaThere’s another candidate for “Ship of the Day” right out there down the river.

I have a good view of it steaming – or rather, dieseling – towards me, and that’s because I’m right in the middle of the river. I’m on the ferry that goes across the St Lawrence from Sorel-Tracy to St Ignace. I saw this on my way out and this was the way that I decided to come back. I hadn’t crossed over here before.

From here I drove back down the Chemin du Roy to Repentigny where I have a motel organised for tonight. This is a road that I know very well and I’ve travelled along it dozens of times. You can read all about my adventures along here over the years by following this link but you need to go backwards if you know what I mean.

Back at the motel I washed and cleaned all of the crockery and cutlery and made sure that everything else was clean. And then I packed it away ready to put it into store tomorrow.

I don’t want to go home

Thursday 27th October 2011 – THE WEATHER …

… changed today.

pointing stone wall les guis virlet puy de dome franceAnd what was annoying was that it happened while I was up a ladder pointing the stone work.

I’d done quite a bit too and I was making good progress when the heavens opened on me. There was nothing for it but to put everything away and put the tarps back over. And by the time I had done that the rain had eased off, just as you might ordinarily expect.

I wasn’t going to undo everything and go back up the wall as it was getting late and the light was starting to go, and so I did some more on the struts that I’ll be using to make the stairs in the lean to. I’m well advanced into those and one more day with rain might see them installed

Not that I’m actually wishing for rain, of course. I have far too much work to do outside to go knocking off for no good reason.

This morning I carried on with the website. I’ve left Cap-de-la-Madeleine and now I’m along Highway 138 heading for Quebec City. There’s no doubt that Highway 138, the chemin du roy, is the most beautiful road in Canada.

>And that’s really all I’ve done today. Not very exciting is it? But if I remember to wake up tomorrow, Radio Anglais is off down to Gerzat to record for Radio Arverne. Now isn’t that’s exciting?