'Yawn of the Week'

photo: pre-club lunch, terrace corona

The remains of pre-members' club lunch on
the Corona's terrace.

The 'Report' of the 47th Weekly Meeting

Paris:- Thursday, 24. August 2000:- The city is showing me what it can be like if the Atlantic weather depression sits off Portugal, and its counter-clockwise swirl paints a spray of hot air across Spain and France.

Ahh, but its warm. The sky is clear, the leaves are still green and the shadows on the sidewalks beneath them are warm grey. The light is reflecting every which way with yellow predominating over blue.

My route to the club today is through the Quartier Latin, where the shadows are more black and white. On the Rue de Seine, it seems shut down. Some cafés and many galleries have signs on their rolled-down shutters saying 'see you on 31. August,' which is also a Thursday, in case you want to note the day.

The Pont des Arts is like a planked desert. The city's sunbathers prefer the Seine's right bank quays. Lessphoto: pamela serious ones are camped out on the downstream tip of the Ile de la Cité, under the willows. The breeze is from Malaga.

Two prospective club members are sitting at a pre-club, after-lunch marble-topped café table on the Corona's Amiral Coligny terrace. Before saying 'welcome to the club' I check out the membership potential of the other terrace, on the Quai du Louvre side. Looks like nil.

Nearly the first time in Paris; Pamela Eckhart at her first club meeting.

The reason I know the couple are to-be members of the club is because one of them is Norman Barth, who I've met before. He demonstrates to me that finding the Corona's 'Grande Salle' is not as easy as I thought.

To the left of the bar, there's the sign pointing in the right direction but it seems to be pointing at a door with 'privée' sign on it. You have to go further around to the right before the 'Grande Salle' opens out.

I thought I had thoroughly explained that in case of difficulty all you have to do is say, "Ou est le club?" at the bar. 'Club' is pronounced 'cloob.' Remember?

In the 'Grande Salle' there is easily enough room for 100 members. At the back, I line up the tables like soldiers and then the chairs and place myself in the centre.

When Norman and his companion Pamela Eckhart come in, they take the seats the furthest away, as if I'm not still half-deaf from Canadian pool water. I cajole them into cozying-up closer together.

Pamela is from San Diego, California; where Norman used to live before he moved to La Jolla. Thisphoto: norman second city becomes the club's 'City of the Week,' and since San Diego county is so interesting and varied, it becomes the 'County of the Week' - the first to ever get this newly-minted distinction.

Only somebody who knows Paris as well as Norman Barth would order spaghetti at La Corona.

Did you know that more hummingbirds live in San Diego County than - I forget where - and the county has the nation's record for number of Indian reservations? Dogs are also allowed to swim in the water there without leashes, just so long as they don't touch any sand!

And all my life I thought San Diego County was mainly famous for its southernmost city of Tijuana. Norman wonders what it would be like to sneak across the border at night, into Mexico, even though, he says, "We have lots of space in America."

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