Correspondence from Canada: Letter 47 - 29.06.82
Copyright holder(s): Name withheld
29 June '82.
Dear Mum, Dad & Al,
Back from Quebec City: it was fabulous. Helen, Julian, Ann and I drove down on Friday (Al's birthday): six hours through picturesque New Brunswick, and eventually following the mighty St Lawrence seaway on down to the French-Canadian city. Helen had made a picnic lunch and just thrown in some odds & ends: fresh bread, salmon, tomatos, plums, mayonnaise. It was lovely! We eventually arrived in Quebec and picked up Leigh, Helen's son, who'd been doing a French immersion course in the province: i.e. he'd been doing a 6 week total crash-course in French in the heart of the Francophone district. Then we went downtown to Old Quebec and found accommodation, fairly cheaply, in the centre of the picturesque area of the city, right next to the Chateau Frontenac, a massive old hotel built like a Disneyland fairy castle, which commands the Quebec skyline. Old Quebec has character, romance, life, bohemian craziness, and was just like my most romantic conceptions of mainland France - - the way it is in films but you feel just can't be true. We wandered the crooked up-and-down old streets beside open-terraced restaurants with names like Chez Rabelais and on the Friday evening ended up on the boardwalk overlooking the twinkling St Lawrence dancing the Gay Gordons to some late-night street musicians. It was hilarious!
On Saturday we did the touristy bit: we went through the citadel, visited the Plains of Abraham where Gen. Wolf took Quebec for the Brits, and went round the Provincial Legislative Buildings where the Partie Quebecois call for independence.
The food was great: croissants for breakfast, a monstrous chicken salad in a terrace cafe for lunch, and a crepe (pancake) with strawberries & ice-cream for tea. Then we wandered round various bars where jazz & folk groups were entertaining the thronging masses. Around 9pm we went across the St Lawrence and back on the ferry and watched the last rays of the sun go down over the city. It was a great but tiring day.
Trying to speak French was fun: it felt like the first time I've really been abroad! "Avez vous de timbres?" "'Ave I ze time?" "Um, parlez vous anglais??" "Je m'excuse, non." "Umm, de timbres, stamps??" "Ah! Combien?" "Deux, overseas... eh I mean ... pour Ecossaise ... six-ty cents." Ann, Helen, & Leigh can manage, but Julian and I caused much hilarity as we vainly tried to resurrect O Level French from the coffins of our memories.
On Sunday we drove around L'Île d'Orleans, a wealthy farming community with some interesting French Catholic churches, which is in the middle of the St. Lawrence. Then, too soon, we had to come home.
So, now I'm back in the sticks. Fredericton is very wet just now; I bought myself a cagoule today. Last night I spent some hours in Tim Hortons Donut Shop with Julian & Ann (there's nothing like a N. American Donut shop - just like 50's movies) and I'm trying to persuade them to go with me to "Bambi" tomorrow. Neither has ever seen it!
Glad to hear the Royal Wean has been named after Dad. Recognition at last! Glad to hear too of Al's French results - - hope the others are OK too. So the Wedding of the Year is in October? Does the happy groom know what he's marrying into?
I was at the weight-room with Julian again yesterday: we're improving, I think, but I don't think I'll be bulging in time to make the auditions for "Rocky IV"! ("Rocky III"'s here now, and it's supposed to be quite good. I suppose I should go just to see the Philly art museum again.) Anyway, keep up the swimming, golf, & fencing respectively. Hope everybody's fine & well. Best wishes to all.
P.S. Who's "Geordie"?
[NOTE: second P.S. on back of envelope] P.S. Tapes arrived this morning: thanks!
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Correspondence from Canada: Letter 47 - 29.06.82. 2020. In The Scottish Corpus of Texts & Speech. Glasgow: University of Glasgow. Retrieved August 2020, from http://www.scottishcorpus.ac.uk/document/?documentid=895.
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