Only a Day Late

photo: cafe l'horizon, rue de rennes

The Rue de Rennes, with a needle of sunlight in its centre.

Monday's Forecast Lost In Time

by Ric Erickson

Paris:- Monday, 4. February 2002:- Regular readers - and there are more than two of you - will realize that this week's column is a day late, and is being written on Tuesday. This is not a good idea because Tuesday is my weekly 'weekend' but it will work okay this time because I couldn't think of what to write yesterday.

The 'Au Bistro' column has the same situation this week too, but with the difference that there is always more than enough to write about. With this out of the way, we can start the issue's two lead columns a day late with the -

The Silly Weather Report

Today, which I expect you to remember is Tuesday, it is raining lightly in Paris. During the past week the temperatures remained 'high for the season' and there were more mostly cloudless days than there usually are in any given week in July.

This caused a great deal of 'going out.' Doing this causes many photos to be taken whichphoto: orangerie, luxembourg results in much time selecting them and straightening them out for possible use, and for saving for the archive. But this is not the reason part of this issue is late.

Baskers at the Orangerie in the Luxembourg on Saturday.

The coming weather will not be as pleasant as the past's has been, starting with today's feeble rain. Temperatures will continue their downward slide from last week's highs of 14-15, to a more seasonal but still 'above normal' level in the range of 10-13. Overnight lows are not expected to go below 4 degrees. Do not expect much sunshine.

All of this is great for Paris, but rotten for those who seek their thrills on heights such as the Alps. Lower mountains do not have much snow below 1000 metres and mid-alpine enthusiasts are reacquainting themselves with long games of Scrabble.

'Café Life'

Dining Out

If I am invited to somebody's place for dinner I consider it unwise to decline the invitation, regardless of it possibly making the issue late, because invitations are rare - and I might overhear some choice conversation that I can reasonably pass off as 'Café Life.'

But when I am slogging away on the end-game of an issue and the clock is speeding towards 03:00 on Tuesday morning, I can usually look back and pinpoint the three hours that went missing - but so what? It could just as easily have been a ten or 15-year old movie on TV - worth nothing for 'Café Life' - where I 'lost' the time.

During the preliminary introductions on Friday night we turned out to be two, unknown to three others - making us six in all, with only the hostess knowing everybody.

This type of evening out can be less than a total success because of the time it takes to establish rudimentary identities - if they are ever nailed down at all.

Getting this done is not always necessary if, by lucky fluke, the conversation lands on somethingphoto: steaming cafe of common interest to everybody present. Then it could be possible to say, it would be good to have another dinner with those 'interesting' people.

The other night it was looking very good right from the beginning. Early on, one lady said her job was studying 'The Arabian Nights Entertainments.' As most know, these tales by Scheherazade went on for '1001 nights,' and the lady said she had been on this job for 23 years.

My Thursday club meeting café was sorely lacking on Friday evening.

But before I could ask any one of 47 questions, the last lady to arrive felt a need to tell all of us about every play and movie she had seen within the past six weeks, and this tended to dominate the table's conversation because it seemed as if she had been out to see six events per week.

As usually happens during the average dinner, the entire thing takes place in one spot - sitting at the table - and usually lasts no less than three hours. There is no preliminary standing around and no 'retiring to the drawing room' afterwards.

I couldn't find a hole in the conversation big enough to slip in any of my 47 questions, so I took my leave, prematurely, at the three-hour mark. I do not doubt this rash action will lose me some invitations.

With dining out there is an element of chance. The previous week's 'Buffalo grass' party was long on amusement and being short on 'interesting facts' did not subtract from it.

I wonder, I really do, how long it will be - if ever - it will take for me to find out everything about Scheherazade's '1001 nights.' For one thing, I have no idea about what happens on the 1002th night.

Café Metropole Club 'Updates'

Readers and club members can catch up with the most recent club non-affairs by reading about last week's meeting. See this report which includes the club's most outstanding non-member, 'Victor Hugo.'

Before anybody takes this as being extremely unlikely, the club's secretary merely reports what happens - or doesn't - at club meetings. Members who have already read the report have expressed their approval, and have added their comments elsewhere in this issue.

The coming meeting of the Café Metropole Club will be on Thursday, 7. February. It will be a Thursday again, because every week has one of these. The meeting will be held at the Café-Tabac La Corona.

It will be another ordinary Thursday-type day, but one called Sainte-Eugénie, which we might not have had before even though it is never any kind of holiday in France like Easter. The day after will be an ordinary-type Friday again.

Metropole readers and those wishing to become real club members can get all the details about this free club by and committing to memory the large-sized fine-print on the 'About the Club' page.

It explains how to join - by being here! - its meeting time and so on, and other true facts such as being free. This page also contains a location map for the club's café La Corona.

'Virtual' Meetings by Club Members

If this page hadn't been late, I wouldn't be able to announce that club members - Eva Lee in Tranquility, New Jersey and Sally Dilgart in Chicago - have been conducting a 'virtual' offshore club meeting with each other, via email and by telephone.

It is not clear if this came about by the drowsiness the last meeting's report caused Eva to experience. The twophoto: baskers, terrace la corona members have proposed a 'report' with Sarlat-la-Caneda as 'City of the Week' and the 'Food of the Week' is Perigord duck 'Demoiselle.' Since the café La Corona does not have this, there is no 'Drink of the Week' either.

'Virtual' meetings are fine, but do not capture the nature of the meetings in Paris - this 'winter.'

'Site of the Week' - this is a new category - are the prehistoric cave paintings at Peche Merle, which Sally keeps calling the 'Pêche Melba' caves. Otherwise, both members claim the 'Quote of the Week' is, "I wanna go, I wanna go!" etc.

Seeing cave paintings in France, if there is enough light, makes one wonder what people were up to down there deep underground in the dark, busily painting hunters and animals. Did they know they would be famous 20,000 years later?

Finally, Sally - who must be a bit drowsy too - writes today, "Why didn't you tell me earlier that Buffalo grass is Perovskia? I have huge clumps of it growing in my garden - and it has a very nice scent too - so I can bring or send you as much as you require as often as you would like. We can probably figure out some way that I can always be your 'Personal Private Perovskia Provider.'"

This is an exceedingly generous offer. I will inform Dimitri that a club member has a whole garden in Chicago full of Buffalo grass to rival the supply in Kiev.

Metropole's Affiliates

The following product or service providers have chosen Metropole because their offers may be of value to you and I agree with them.

'Bookings' has extended their reservation service for a wide selection of Paris hotels. Check out their wider offers and make your choice long before your arrival in France. Try this one. Other Metropole readers have.

'HighwayToHealth' provides a 'city health profile' for Paris as well as travel insurance. If you have signed up for these services before you need them suddenly, you will benefit from them. I hope won't be the case, but 'Things Happen.'

'Petanque America' exports quality Obut boules from France and will ship them to you anywhere in the Americas - which will save you the effort of carrying them all the way from Paris. Be the first on your block to introduce the game of pétanque - or boules. Everybody can play this game, nearly anywhere - such as on the vacant lot I saw between the subway exit and the boardwalk at Coney Island.

This Was Metropole One Year Ago:

Issue 6.06 - 5. Feb 2001 - This issue began with the usual Café Metropole column's deep reflections, titled, 'Total Strike' Reflections' and the 'Au Bistro' news column was snippily titled, 'Gotcha' of the Week.' This issue had one feature, 'Rivolitionary On Rivoli,' which is a horribly embarassing pun for a headline. This issue's update for the Café Metropole Club meeting on 8. February was called the 'Pot-bellied' Pigs Spotted Near Club' Report.' The over-long 'Scene' column was inaccurately titled, 'A Short List of Events.' It isphoto: sign, place pierre lafue true there were four new 'Posters of the Week' and Ric's Cartoon of the Week had a half-fried caption, "Passengers Should Strike." Other than this, it was a normal issue.

This Was Metropole Two Years Ago

Issue 5.06 - 7. February 2000 - This week's Café Metropole column was titled 'The Montorgueil Pedestrian Area.' The 'Au Bistro' column asked, 'How Big Is the Government's 'Pot?' This issue had one little feature, titled 'Fearless' Jean Slept Here.' The Café Metropole Club update for this issue on 10. February, was called 'The Dollar of the Week Is the 'Sacajawea,' again. A boost-the-club page announced, 'Salute To Texas Six Flags.' This is wrong - the two titles re mixed up. The 'Scene' column was exotic this week with, 'On Top: the 'Trésors des Arts Asiatiques.' The usual but all new four 'Posters of the Week' were on view too and Ric's Cartoon of the Week posed a vital question, which was 'Where's Your Phone?'

This Year's 'Count-Downs' Goes for Duos

There are only 330 days remaining in this year. This means the 'euro 3 signuro' currency has been around for a whole 35 days and the sky hasn't fallen in yet.

Last week reader John McCullochphoto: sign, bottier, cordonnier proposed some new count-down topics. I think his proposal of Victor Hugo's 200th birthdate should be retained even if it is a mere 23 days from now, on Tuesday, 26. February. Otherwise, I might forget it.

The other one was the anniversary of Charles Lindbergh's solo but visaless arrival in Paris at Le Bourget, on Saturday, 21. May 1927. This was 75 years ago and this anniversary is 107 days from now.

Nobody has written to protest about this duo or trio of count-downs or whatever they are. Nobody has written to praise the idea either. Is the Internet broken?
signature, regards, ric

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