Wow, I let a long time go between posts there – sorry. But really life’s been quiet and I’ve not had anything interesting to blog about – which is a good thing, I’m thinking.
Everything’s going well on the writing front. The story I’m working on for HQ is up over 21K now. I’ve made a few adjustments – mainly I’ve decided to ditch the hero’s geeky half-brother who had mysteriously inserted himself into the story; I turned him into a 40 something woman. He wasn’t pleased at that, but I think it makes the story stronger.
And since I’ve got nothing else to really talk about, here’s some more shots of Quebec City. Today’s pictures are taken from Battlefield Park, also known as the Plains of Abraham (not a biblical reference but named for a man who used to pasture his cattle in that field. Didn’t even own it, just turned his cows loose there.) It’s a very important place in North American history – it’s where the English defeated the French, and changed the tide of history both for the future formation of Canada, and possibly United States as well.
Here’s Gizmo Guy looking across Battlefields Park. From what I’ve been told by a guide at the Citadel, the field has been landscaped over the years – the hills and valleys that are there now have been sculptured to create a more park-like setting. Whether that’s true or not, I have no idea. But it really seems like quite a small area considering the history steeped in its soil.
Unfortunately cameras really flatten the depth of pictures – the hill we’re standing on is extremely steep. You can see we’re actually at the height of the top of the trees down in the valley.
While we were taking this picture, a police car with two officers pulled up and started questioning a man on the bench beside us. To this day we have no idea what that was about, but they took his ID and talked to him for about twenty minutes before driving on.
On the picture above, it’s hard to see, but on the horizon is the Citadel – this picture is taken from the Citadel and it shows you WHY it’s so hard to see the fort from the field. See the roof on the top of the wall? No? There’s just grass and field beyond? That’s because the roof IS several foot thick of dirt and grass that protects the ceiling of the buildings beneath. All methods of protecting the fort from cannon fire.
The Citadel is a working fort still – it’s the ceremonial home and training facility for the Royal 22e Régiment – a francophone regiment of the Canadian Army. Canadians may have heard them referred to as the Van doos – which is a corruption of vingt-deux, or “twenty-two.” And their motto, which anyone who has seen Quebec license plates knows, is Je Me Souviens – I Remember.
Another famous part of Battlefield Park are the Martello towers that were built by the British, not the French.
The interior of a Martello tower was divided into three stories (sometimes with an additional basement). The ground floor served as the magazine and storerooms, where ammunition, stores and provisions were kept. The garrison of 24 men and one officer lived in a casemate on the first floor, which was divided into several rooms and had fireplaces built into the walls for cooking and heating. The officer and men lived in separate rooms of almost equal size. The roof or terreplein was surmounted with one or two cannon on a central pivot which enabled them to be turned through up to 360 degrees. A well or cistern was provided within the fort to supply the garrison with fresh water. An internal drainage system linked to the roof enabled the cistern to be refilled with rainwater.
There are eleven Martello Towers still standing in Canada. Some in various parts of Nova Scotia, three in Quebec City, more in Kingston Ontario. Most, like this one above, overlook a harbour, standing as silent sentinels guarding our harbours.
But the one Gizmo Guy and I had to look twice at was this one. The city has encroached onto what used to be the Plains, and now it stands in the middle of an urban area, looking as out of place as a Stetson in Old Quebec City.
(I left the stop sign in the shot as a reminder of how difficult it can be drive when you’re trying to interpret signs in another language. Arret was simple. Some of the others? Not so easy for us unilinguists.