Between Waves

photo: wine resto, jacques melac

This is how Jacques Melac's vinyard looked last Friday.

With a Vendange Party Invitation

by Ric Erickson

Paris:- Monday, 13. September 1999:- This is not a giant issue like the last one. The past week had Paris bathed in perfect weather - for July - with super sunny days and way 'above normal' temperatures. Not only 'above normal' for September, but for July too.

So I was out marching around here and there and going places accidently, with the result that this issue has a couple of features that neatly fill a little hole in the stream of events.

This coming Wednesday, Paris picks up its 'rentrée' steam again with a shoppingbag full of new exhibitions and events. I am not sure what I will do with them all, but something may occur to me by Wednesday morning.

The weather returned to 'normal' last night and the forecast for the coming week is for the usual Septemberphoto: patisserie muck. I wouldn't mind because Paris has been having a bonus mini-season, but some of the coming events will be taking place outside.

One of them will be next Saturday's vendange at Jacques Melac's wine restaurant. As you can see above, the facade of the restaurant has some grape vines. These will be picked on Saturday - for converting into wine! - and the neighborhood will have a local festival to celebrate this occasion.

As far as I know everybody is welcome to lend a hand. The festival licks off at 13:00, Saturday, 18. September. At Jacques Melac's Bistrot à Vin, 42. Rue Léon Frot, Paris 11. Métro: Charonne. Don't bother phoning, just show up if you can make it.

Thinking About House-Cleaning

As part of my dentist's temporary program of me having no teeth, last Tuesday seemed like a good time to buy a broom. I had gone the rounds of the local drogeries - these are like mini combination hardware and five-and-dime shops - but none of them had brooms.

If I am to wash floors too, I think I will need a bucket. The drogeries had no buckets. Maybe nobody else washes floors anymore. For windows, I need a high stepladder, but this is too ambitious this week. I have to measure the windows' heights to figure out how many steps the ladder needs to have.

In Montparnasse there is a huge supermarket called 'Inno' and its entry on the Rue de Départ looks the freight delivery. 'Inno' is known, or used to be, for having a good wine selection. Inside it is not as dumpy as its entrance.

What I was looking for in its vast downstairs space, was the ménage - house cleaning - section. I could have asked where to find it, butphoto: deli's cafe without teeth I might be mistaken for a clochard, and everybody would have a big laugh at the idea of a clochard wanting to clean floors. So I hunted around, security cameras following my every move.

I found buckets on an end-display. I found mops. I found the thingee for squeezing the mop, that fits on the rim of the bucket. The ensemble was the Spanish model; the one that works well when used on tile floors three times a day. There were five different price tags for the three items.

On the shelves on the left side, there were various kinds of sponges - all synthetic and all for jobs the size of a small jam spill. Around on the right side, there were mop handles, and lots of other house-cleaning odds and ends, including real brooms.

I guess it is over 30 years since I have seen a real broom. No, I have seen rare remanents of them, but I don't remember where. I almost decide to get one for old times' sake.

At the end of June, there were TV commercials for a new type of dust mop. The fabric part of the mop was shown picking up dust from an entire apartment's floor, just by giving the floor a peek at it. It did windows too.

It was a convincing advertisement but I have not seen the product anywhere in all the drogeries and ménage sections I've scouted during the past six weeks. Perfect advertising for a non-existent product.

I tried to be rational in front of the choice of tools that faced me. I needed to thoroughly clean the floor, I needed to wax it and I needed something to keep it clean. For the tiles in the kitchen and bath, the bucket and a heavy-duty sponge would do - but there were no such sponges.

There were these floor things, with exchangeable wiper-mop parts - like the one in the TV ad. When I could find any price tag at all, there were about five models with one brand name and five different prices. There were also a wide choice of broom-heads, and a mall choice of handles.


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