The rain stopped while I was eating, and the traffic cleared up, so I made it to the turn off for Val David in about half an hour. The mountains sort of sneak up on you as you drive north, you just suddenly notice that the horizon is bumpy, and your car is labouring up more inclines than usual. The water slide park with it's huge free standing faucet (the pipe that brings the water up visible since the water was turned off for the day), the arcing bridge over the highway, and the huge cross on the hill rolled past me. I found the correct exit, drove past Belle Neige where we'd gone skiing once or twice, but I managed to make a wrong turn and did a u turn in the parking lot of the Santa Claus Village in Val Morin then continued on. Through the small village of Val David and up the hill going out, past the bike path that they've made out of the torn up train tracks, and then along the country road out to their place. I made it up the twisty steep driveway, pulled in front of their garage and sat and shook for a while. I lugged my stuff up the stairs to the front entrance and knocked. I had to wait a while since they turned out to be in the midst of a corn on the cob feast and were covered in corn bits, therefore in no shape to open the door nor hug me hello. Roger wiped off his hands after waving me in and I got my hug finally. I collapsed in an arm chair after saying hello to everyone, and was just in time for dessert, a wonderful blueberry cake that Gwen had baked. We stayed around the dinner table talking for a while, then one by one wandered off to bed. I was in the small room down stairs, next to the garage, and I pulled the window curtains so that I would have a chance of sleeping past dawn.
Roger, Yvonne, Ray and myself drove into Ste. Agathe to get some wine for the barbeque tomorrow, and corn on the cob for lunch today. I wandered into the pharmacy next to the liquor store to get film for my camera, then found Yvonne and Ray in the check out line at the liquor store. Roger had left us there while he went to get gas in the car. Yvonne wanted a lottery ticket and some post cards, so I led them back to the pharmacy, where I attemped to help her buy a lottery ticket, but as usual, all my facility with French disappeared as soon as I needed to talk to a stranger. I hadn't realised that so many options had been added on simple pick 6 lotteries. She picked out a slew of post cards to send home and paid for them no problem. Roger caught up with us and we walked over to the lake and watched the cruise take off around the bend. One person was sail boarding / wind surfing and a few people were sun-bathing. The lake is a lot bigger than we could see from where we were standing since it curves and dips around the slopes of the valley that it lies in. Roger offered to drive us around the perimeter and we took him up on it. It took us about 20 minutes to make our way around it, then he drove us past the church that he and Monica got married in, and then by the back way to Val David and home.
We had corn for lunch, no surprise, and then Monica took Gwen, Ray, Yvonne and myself into the village for the afternoon. Roger took a look at my car, and managed to fix the rear panels near the wheel well back onto the frame with some wires while we were out. Monica dropped the Brits and myself off at the pottery festival display and she and Gwen went to do more grocery shopping. We wandered around the 1001 pots festival, and there turned out to be over 20 thousand pieces. I was especially caught by some that were styled with ivy leaves forming saucers and vines making the handles of some cups and mugs. The casserole disk was covered with leaves and all were glazed a varied green colour. There were a few pieces of sculpture that were interesting too, along with a shelf full of penguins that I considered liberating one from as a present for a friend. I couldn't find the perfect one, though the touqued and snow ball flinging one was quite cute, so I left them to continue frolicking on their support. Monica and Gwen came back and found us, and bought me a cup and saucer and a mug in the leafy style as early birthday presents. I considered coming back the next day, the last of the festival, to see if I really did want to buy anything myself, but I ended up not making it back.
We drove back to the house, despite our thought of walking, since it was getting a bit late. More corn on the cob was consumed and we spent a relaxing evening talking and reading, making it an early night since we knew we had to leave for Susan's at 10am the next morning.
Everyone was finally ready and we stuffed ourselves into two cars, leaving mine so I didn't have to drive. Myself and Ray went with Monica in her car, the rest in Roger's. It took about an hour on the highway to get to La Chine, and Susan and Jean-Guy were waiting for us as we arrived. We went out to their back yard by the pool and sat at their shaded table. Jean-Guy performed the honours with the BBQ, making up shish-kebobs and chicken breasts. We drank lots of iced tea (me and Gwen) and red wine (Ray and Jean-Guy). I found out that my cousin-by-marriage, Susan's son Marc, is living in Toronto and I got his number for future reference. We took a walk around their neighbourhood after lunch, passing by the house that had been bulldozed as part of a divorce dispute, and went into a model house that displayed the charms of the new houses going up on the edge of the hill. The prices were quite good, especially compared to what I could get for the same amount of money in Toronto. Yvonne was floored since housing prices in Bristol are just insanely high. There was one house across from the model that looked almost castle like, complete to a large winged dog gargoyle guarding the steps. They wandered back and I walked back to the house, not used to the concept of strolling any more. We pried Ray from the hospitality that Jean-Guy continued to shower on him, and eventually got everyone back into the cars. We stopped in Val David briefly to get some groceries, and Ray disappeared for a bit, trying to find a washroom as it turned out. We had a small supper of corn and an early night.