For the 'First' Time

photo: iris, doug, colleen, charlie, michelle, jerry, betty, elizabeth, ray

Nine members set no 'first,' but have too many names
for this caption.

The Club Begins Its 3rd Year

Paris:- Thursday, 11. October 2001:- What the weather is doing in my apartment is of no interest to anybody other than the folks who make thermal undergarments. These are rubbing their hands together briskly, because they think they are going to be crossed soon with cash.

Meanwhile, outside in the real world, the sky is blue and clear, the sun is shining, and France is covered in warm air from the Pyrenees to all of its northern edges.

In a moment of inattention lasting two days, I missed the prediction for this. Wearing full winter gear I tested the air about noon and found it to be Indian-summer-like, so I changed costumes - and I thought I might as well dress up a bit to show respect for the club's historic occasion today.

But let's clear up the weather business first. Tonight I have seen the forecast, and it is a good one - until Sunday at least - with mostly clear skies and temperatures above 20. I bet you didn't think Paris could do it. I didn't either.

Good weather is also good news for all the people visiting Paris for a day or two and were counting on seeing all of its treasures - only to find that the national museums and monuments are 'on strike.'

As an aid to walkers, half of the city's métro lines are on strike today too.

Having good weather for this is a co-incidence. All of the city's own museums are open, and a free show called 'Lumières Magyares' has just started in thephoto: secretary, waiting for party Salle Saint-Jean in the Hôtel de Ville - with a set of paintings done by Hungarian artists between 1870 and 1914.

The club's secretary, nervously waiting for the outslaught of the 'party.'

Almost all of them show good weather in Hungary during those years, with lots of light and shade. While it was 'cool' or outright foggy for the Impressionists in Paris during the same period, these were 'hot' times in Hungary.

And this is how it looks in Paris today. There is lots of very bright light, making lots of very deep shade. It is very dramatic and it is free to look at, and comfortable to be in - to be out, I mean.

Oddly, on the club's 'big day' there are no members in La Corona's 'grande salle' waiting for the 2nd birthday party to begin when I arrive, a bit before club time, I'll admit.

I have brought the club's new mascot and the party 'Smarties' and the club's secretary all slickered-up, and where is everybody? Oh no, is it going to be one of the club's fluke 'no-member' meetings?

But no. Within a couple of minutes new members Elizabeth and Roy Trew from Brisbane inphoto: smarties, tureen coffee, mascot Australia are being welcomed and invited to enter their particulars in the members' booklet - as members 292 and 293.

Club stalwarts 'tureen of café' and 'howling-hound-Ed' masot are not to be confused with the silly 'Smarties' tube flop.

The Trews report that strike warning signs have been put up at the closed museums, and some unknown disgruntled types have written nasty comments of them. I explain about the 35-hour work week, but this doesn't really explain anything because this is just a catch-phrase for the inexplicable.

Since the Oz dollar has fallen in half since the Trews were last in Paris in the 1996 area of time, they have other things to be philosophical about. Such as telling me about Brisbane's climate.

Apparently this city only has two distinct types of climate - hot and dry or hot and wet, and the wet season isn't long. For the short wet season I declare it to be the 'City of the Week,' because it is a 'first' for both the club and Brisbane.

Michelle Royston arrives, and immediately has a question to pose. "Where can my uncle take me to dinner?"

Then Betty and Jerry Blizin arrive, followed very shortly by Doug Fuss. He attempts to tell the assembled members about the 'through snow- and-storm' dedication of the club's secretary, but most people are wondering why Michelle has announced that, "Men are not allowed to wear overcoats in the Moulin Rouge."

"But ladies can," she says.

Nobody knows about this overcoat thing at the Moulin Rouge, so the Trews tell us about the thermal underwear they have brought from Oz to wear north of the equator.

When I am truly astonished at this - we have thermal underwear for sale in Paris at Damart - "Moi, froid? Jamais!" - I guess the Trews have thought thermal woollies might not be available in the UK, which is considerably more Arctic than the continent.

What is even more astonishing is the news that the Oz tax collectors give back the tax on thermalphoto: pouring tea underwear if you take it out of the country. I suppose if you wear it to the South Pole, the tax collectors there whack the tax back on again.

South of the equator sounds like a strange foreign country alright.

When Roy says, about Brisbane, "Beautiful one day, perfect the next," I start to think maybe Fairfax, California should be the 'City of the Week' but there is nobody from Fairfax here today.

Another big 'party' drink today was very hot tea. <>When I point out the gala tube of 'Smarties' nobody knows what they are. "What are they?" Michelle asks. Betty pours five of them into her tureen of café - or was it Colleen dumping them into her tea?


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