...Continued from page 1

If I was a 'real' member instead of the club's unofficial secretary, I'm not sure I'd arrive either. The café's other customers are mostly outside, basking.

Another couple tried doing this a couple of weeks ago on one of the other sunny club days, and lasted about seven minutes before they hauled their kit and caboodle inside. Not today.

Linda has to buzz off. She pays for my double-express and lowers the numbers of cafés she owes me from 4867 to 4865. She wants to round it down to 4000 in exchange for the empty 'Havana Club' rum bottle, but I point out it has one of those plastic things on its snout so you can't refill it with cheapo rum from the bodega.

In the old days, one of my bosses used the get the rum from a bodega in Malaga in five-litre plastic jugs. In addition to going down to the bar every morning at 11:00 to pick up the block of ice lying on the doorstep and putting it into the non-electric refrigerator, I had to refill the Barcardi bottles with this 100-pesetas a litre rum.

Then in the evenings I'd make 'Cuba Libres' for anybody who asked for one. These cocktails were made very scientifically. I'd take a big glass and throw a handful of ice in it - ice I'd smashed into cubes with a full bottle of Coke wrapped in a towel.

The 'scientific' part was putting in the right amount of rum, so that when the full bottle of Coke - it was real Coke too - was put in, it came right to the top. Then a slice of real lemon was added to sit on the rim of the glass, for a little extra cha-cha-cha.

On account of the Coke costing so much, we had to charge 25 pesetas for these drinks, which was about 40 cents at the time.

Our other fancy cocktail was a gin and tonic and the gin came fromphoto: orangina bouquet the same place as the rum, and the glass was the same size; so the price was the same.

One night, three college girls wearing raincoats stopped in on their way to Tangier, and each of them drank eight of these Cuba Libres; and walked out as if they had been drinking air. Instead of going to Tangier, they came back the next night and had another eight apiece.

On the third night, when they came in, the blond one came up to the bar and put a 1000 peseta-note on it. She said, "Sometimes we lose track, so tonight we're paying in advance. Keep the change."

I had to share tips with the English girl, but even my half amounted to two nights' pay. And this reminds me I should pay Patrick for my second café and get outside and take some more photos. The light looks pretty good over by the Pont des Arts.

Next Monday's 'Club News' in Metropole

I am going to have to make up something again. I can't re-run today's 'report,' unless I want to add what happened when the Spanish Legionaries came to town from Africa and one of them wanted me to sell him the blond college girl, raincoat and all.

Date, Time and Location of Next Meeting

Thursday, 23. March 2000 is the date for the club's next 'real' meeting. If it is Thursday and you are in Paris, and spring isn'tphoto: bucket rose, terrace popping out all over making you think of better things to do, you can say "It must be Café Metropole Club day!"

The café La Corona meeting place will be as open as usual next Thursday, so the time for your club's meeting remains from 15:00 to 17:00 - which is also known as 3 pm to 5 pm in certain shillings-and-pence time zones.

Come as you are, especially if you are in Paris. If you cannot be present - like today - you can read the regular - this week's - Monday page for your club news as a substitute. Instead of PR, instead of an account of last week's meeting, it now features something unrelated to anything - luckily - plus whatever new business there may be. The café's location is:

Café-Tabac La Corona
2. Rue de l'Amiral Coligny
Paris 1. Métro: Louvre-Rivoli or Pont-Neuf

A bientôt à Paris,
signature, regards, ric

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