Day 15: lovely Verdun

We awoke to the sound of the cat, howling and banging the door to go outside. Now you have to understand that there are four cats in this house. Stanley, Beatrice, Winston and Zena. And J is allergic to cats. And little C really doesn’t like cats. So to be in a house with four cats is quite a challenge. Nevertheless, we slept well and relatively sneeze free.

Back to the waking up. We thought it was E creeping around trying to find our room and making funny noises. But it was Stanley, begging to go outside. He actually bangs the door. Not just scratches, but whacks it really hard to get attention. Hey! I’m dyin’ here! Lemme out!

E did wake up when J and F were having breakfast and then little C did too. M got b it of a sleep-in. J & F left for work and Auntie played with the girls while M got up. When all the girls finally had gotten up and dressed and ready to go out for a walk, it was lunch time. So we had lunch first. Auntie J is a fabulous cook: ricotta pancakes with strawberries and real maple syrup (we are in Quebec after all) for breakfast, lentil soup and baguette with heavenly cheese for lunch for the ladies and pasta and peas from scratch for the kids.

If you know E and C you know they love pasta and peas. What is it? Exactly as it sounds. M has taken the traditional kids staple of Kraft Dinner/mac n cheese and turned it into something healthy and tasty that she doesn’t mind eating. We start with Annie’s Natural Bunnies with white cheddar cheese. We use yogurt and/or milk instead of butter, add ground flax and sometimes pureed cauliflower to boost the nutrition and creaminess, and frozen peas, the girls’ favourite veggie. And voila, healthy, tasty, and a kid favourite. So they have been desperate to have it these last few weeks. In every restaurant that’s whatE asks for.

So of course they were very excited when Auntie J offered to make it! Except no boxes here – the sauce is a mozzerella béchamel (which M sometimes does too) so the pasta is extra delicious. And they wolfed it down, pleased as could be.

Then we headed down to the St. Lawrence River, only a few blocks from Auntie J and F’s walk-up in Verdun. Verdun is a little outside of Montreal and used to be a separate city. It is dense as the majority of the dwellings are three-story walk-ups with several apartments inside. This one is three stories with five apartments: two up, two down, and Auntie J and F on the main floor in the middle. But it’s not small – their floor is almost 1500 square feet with four bedrooms. The commercial part of town along Promenade Wellington reminds one of Commercial Drive before it because hip and trendy. A little bit East Van but not East Hastings. An eclectic mix of ethnic restaurants, little markets, shops, huge churches (of course – churches are aplenty here with one towering up every few blocks) and of course patisseries. Love the French for their patisseries!

There is a huge playground on the river where we played for a while and had ice cream. It’s a popular place and biking is huge here. There were piles of kids and piles of bikes. There are biking paths linking the city, along the river, through the parks. It feels European in a lot of ways. It was a hot day and the ice cream was a welcome relief. After that we walked along the river a ways and then up and down the shopping area. While we were out J called to let us know he was back from his meetings and couldn’t get in the house… no one was home. So Auntie J gave him directions to meet us during our walk.

It will come as no surprise that he got lost and after many phone calls and directions and puzzled looks (on both ends) we finally met up back at the house a while later. Happily, J had found a store and bought himself a treat. (Nathan & Phil, you will be happy, methinks… or jealous… or indifferent really.)

Moving on.

The girls were both asleep by the time we got home so they had  nap while we hung out drinking coffee, Skypeing mom, reading and relaxing. The girls go up around the time F came home with his twelve-year-old daughter, Mx, and E was smitten. Mx takes circus classes at the local circus school and was practicing hula hoop,ring juggling, Devil sticks, and diabolo in the backyard. E was watching and asked to try, so Mx got her going on the diabolo. E had it going by herself even! Dinner was a lovely affair of Toulouse sausages with beet juice, pesto spaghetti (Mx is a vegetarian) and a delicious salad, then a lovely tart for dessert that Auntie J bought at one of the patisseries. After the girls had many stories (C has taken a real liking to F and cuddled with him all the time) the girls went off to bed. We enjoyed a bit of speed scrabble and tea before turning in ourselves.

Sleep, glorious sleep!

  • Melodies: little’s C’s version of Twinkle Twinkle and E’s weird French/Dutch-sounds-a-bit-like-swahili language
  • Miles: J’s extra long walk…
  • Meals: ricotta pancakes with strawberries, pasta & peas and lentil soup, Toulouse sausages and pesto spaghetti
  • Meltdowns: J-0/M-1/E-3/C-1

One response

  1. You got lost again, John?? That’s just hilarious.

    Your trip still sounds like an amazing time. Enjoy yourselves in the beautiful Eastern provinces.

    By the way, D misses E, and talks about “my friend” quite a bit.

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