Dubious Achievement Award

photo: cafe le colonnade

The café Le Colonnade is just a block off Rue de Rivoli.

Workout At Muscle School

by Ric Erickson

Paris:- Monday, 8. January 2001:- In the period between Christmas and New Years when nothing much is happening except recovering, many publications fill up their space or airtime with roundups of highlights or low-points from the previous year.

I have always had an aversion to these journalistic look-backs. Since all of Metropole's past issues remain online, it hardly seems necessary for me to inflict this sort of re-hash on you - except that I usually lead off this column with a few words about the weather.

Despite doing this week after week I am not very diligent about it, and a lot of exciting weather probably goesphoto: fake old car, real old bookshop right over my head without me noticing it much - on account of it being nighttime or on account of the six floors of apartments between my place and the sky.

Fake old car in front of real old bookshop.

If you were in France last year and the weather was crummy during your visit, you probably will not be surprised to learn that the last year of the last century collared some sort of dubious achievement award for lousy weather in France.

Take July for example. Paris scored two records - one for hours of sunshine and another for temperatures. Both were record lows, with a piddly 109 hours of sunrays as opposed to an average of 230 hours. For the month temperatures averaged 17.7 C, a whole 6.3 degrees below the normal average - but much higher than 1948's frosty record of 12.9 degrees.

Paris' average of about 5.5 cm of rain for the months of October and November was drowned by 12.3 cm in October and 10.4 cm in November.

This was followed by a high of 17 degrees on Friday, 8. December - July's 'average!' - and Parisians were out without coats on Thursday, 21. December.

Tomorrow you can expect a high of six if you are lucky. All the luck in the world will not keep it from raining though.

Café Life

School for Muscles

Regular readers with extraordinarily long memories may recall that the 'Ed' of this magazine fell down on a Paris street at the end of November and fractured his right kneecap without actually intending to.

The same readers, but this time with slightly shorter memory-spans, will probably recall the same 'Ed' whining on for weeks about hobbling around the 'City of Light and Invisible Speedbumps' with a cast on his right leg.

And for those with really short-term memories, you will probably have a hazy notion of seeing a photo in last week's issue, showing 'Ed' legs with the leg-in-a-cast getting buzz-sawed off.

Friends, this saga continues. Last Friday 'Ed' took his leg to muscle school, to begin its re-education. This process began with 'Ed' being invited to lie down, which he eagerly did because it is more comfortable than standing up.

However, this position was not selected by Madame Re-education in order to do soothing things to a somewhat worn-out leg, but to interview it.

When the interview was over, 'Ed' and his leg were invited into a mediaeval torture chambre and told to lie on the floor underneath a really dangerous-looking contraption that looked a lot like a rack, even though it had a perfectly ordinary relaxo chair for tiny babies on top of it.

Madame Re-education quickly roped together some pulleys and hooks and snap-hooks and slings, and then left 'Ed' to haul away after duly bending and dropping the leg as far down as it would go - into the 'ouch' zone.

This 'ouch' zone lasted from Friday's first session until today's second session, which began with the devious offer of a very delicious chocolate, obviously intended to reduce anxiety levels.

However, another treat was in store in the form of a leg-rub. Or, it would have been if the phone hadn't interrupted it 23 times. I guess another way of looking at it would be to consider that the leg got 25 very mini-rubs.

After this, the sling and pulley-work resumed and the leg, probably confused, dropped much deeper into the 'ouch' zone without ouching very much. This could have been on account of the chocolate or because of a promise of another leg-rub tomorrow.

I am fairly aware that 99 percent of readers are probably more 'sportif' than I and have broken halfphoto: abandoned xmas tree of their limbs at one time or another - and thereby I am fully aware that my leg's problems are pretty minor compared to the geo-political situation of the world in general.

Not waiting until January's end, used Christmas trees are already hitting the streets.

But still, even while being re-educated, I am still the 'Internet Reporter for Paris' and I may discover that there is some sort of supercool 'French-touch' to this business - which could ultimately benefit any of you - as long as you know about it and happen to be in France.

For all I know my discoveries, if any, may lead to a whole new class of tourism - bodily re-education in Paris. At the moment the only speck I see on this clear window of opportunity, is the ordinary relaxo chair for tiny babies on top of the rack.

What is it for? Why is it near the ceiling? And what is all the other stuff for in the mediaeval torture chambre? And finally, now that I've got my leg nicely bent, how do I straighten it out again?

Vital Shopping Tip: 1

Paris' annual Winter Sales - the 'Soldes d'Hiver' - soon begin on Wednesday, 10. January and continue for six weeks afterwards. These dates are France-wide in case you'd rather shop in Cannes or Nice. First come - best served, but don't forget the Café Metropole Club's meeting on Thursday, which will be a fine place to take a two hour 'breather' from shopping before you drop your plastic's balance into the red.

Vital Shopping Tip: 2

While Metropole's 'Au Bistro' column has been sleeping, bandits have been attacking armored cars in France again.

A couple of weeks ago there was a big gun battle near Paris during an attack, but luckily no one was hit. The gang ws cleanly nabbed a day later and the loot was recovered.


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