Flat Hunting, Part 44

photo: cafe rue de buci

A Quartier Latin café in the Rue de Buci.

Save the Library!

by Ric Erickson

Paris:- Monday, 10. June 2002:- At your first glance at the double-issue numbers this week it may seem as if I've decided to take an impromptu holiday without giving anybody any warning. Let me say, first, that I haven't taken any holiday and, second, as much as I feel like doing it sometimes.

On Sunday morning an impromptu computer malfunction destroyed all of the week's photos and what had already been written for the issue. Five hours of trying everything in my suitcase full of tricks couldn't restore the lost files, nor restore the time lost while trying all the 'tricks.'

If you ever ask me, I will always tell you, 'back everything up!' I do this too - at least two times - but usually after the issue is finished. Losing all of the current files is a dubious 'first' - the first time it has happened in seven years.

I won't say it won't happen again. I can only say it is less likely to, because it is easy to do backups - so long as it becomes routine to do them.

I'm mostly sorry the photos have gone. They were nothing special but some of them were ones that it was onlyphoto: morris possible to get once. Missing the 50th 'Fiat 500 of the Week' may not seem like a tragedy, but it was one I only have in memory now and you may never see, ever.

This week then - two new posters, a new cartoon, a bit of news in 'Au Bistro,' and this page.

In Case You Are Interested - the Weather

For this I have two versions - this morning's Le Parisien and this evening's TV-weather news. Frankly, Le Parisien's is much better, with a great deal of semi-sunshine predicted from Wednesday to Friday.

Temperatures are fairly flat, with highs running from tomorrow's 20 - today's was less - up to 22 for Friday. In fact it has been cool and rainy since I took the photos, so I am really looking forward to some brighter skies so I can show you Paris in its best but rare light.

In contrast, tonight's TV-weather news prediction showed much more dismal times for tomorrow and Wednesday, with a high of 19 for midweek. But, aha! - the TV people have promised a beautiful day for Thursday, with a high of 24 - almost 'normal for this time of year.' Probably 'normal' for Norway.

I guess Friday is just predicted to be so-so, because my notes only say, 'Friday.' But Le Parisien is very optimistic for brightness on Friday, even if their temperature isn't too elevated.

On the whole this isn't the cleverest weather report I've done. The best I can say about it is, it probably isn't any more inaccurate than any of the others. In a way I'm glad I have no credentials for doing these weather reports.

No matter what time of year it is, the weather in Paris is always 'normal for this time of year.' No matter what the weather is actually like, it is always 'normal for Paris.'

Café Life

Scraps of Paper and Notebooks

I get a lot of paper coming in to the office and when it passes its 'good until' date I throw it on the floor. Most of it is only printed on one side, so if I take a sheet of it before going out, I fold it twice and I have four small pages for note-taking.

I either do this or carry a pocket-sized notebook. The notebook is better, because if I need to, I canphoto: world cup awning, la comedia easily look back at past notes. The scraps of paper tend to lie around here in piles, but they are harder to keep track of.

Many Paris cafés are decorated for the World Cup, including Jean's La Comedia.

During some weeks I use both methods - the scraps of paper and the notebook. Usually when I do this, and I'm writing this, I forget I've made any notes - or I can't find them because they are in one place or the other.

As a backup, I use my memory. If that 'disk error' hadn't blown all the photos to virtuality yesterday, I might have been able to remember all of the 'Café Life' items I can no longer recall.

The Flat Hunt

Last Tuesday I got up at the crack of dawn - which is when I went to bed - the birdies were tweeting up outside - to meet an apartment agent to look at a flat.

It wasn't in mint condition. I was told to overlook the disintegrating fake beams made out of styrofoam. These were like car seat-covers, so they could be overlooked - but, ugh, who would want them, even restored?

So I looked at the wiring. It was definitely flaky low-grade 1930-model stuff, which isn't too surprising to find in a postwar building here. The main problem with it is you have to retro-fit all the plugs to plug anything in, and then you have to refit the proper ones if you ever move any place else.

The place was fitted with the TV-cable, but didn't have one grounded electrical outlet anywhere. It was the kind of place where you don't want to live on the seventh floor because the elevator might have the same wiring as the apartment.

As far as I could find out, there was no rent reduction for living dangerously. But to show I was willing the play the game, I went be the agency's office and picked up the tenant's application form.

This turned out to be a four-page questionnaire. It seemed to me that I couldn't put much more than my name on it, so it would have gotten a failing grade - so I thought, why bother?

On the way back I went by the agency that got me into this apartment, and their questionnaire managed to be fit onto one page. This is within the realm of possibility, so it made my day - except that they didn't have, haven't had any apartments to rent, for months.

Now that I think of it, I haven't noticed anybody moving in or out in my street for some time now. It used to happen on a weekly basis - when did it stop?

Today I went around to look at a suspiciously cheap fifth-floor walkup two room flat, but the agency lady said she didn't have the keys yet. Maybe tomorrow, maybe Wednesday.

The last time I lived in a walkup, it was up six floors, it was in Hamburg, and I last saw it in 1976. It was cheap though and had a good view of the rooftops that the British bombers flattened in the summer of 1943.

Another Library Needs Saving

The British Council Librar in Paris has probably been around since the time of William the Conqueror, but I do not know anything about its history, or even where it is located. It isn't just threatened with being closed on Friday, 28. June - it is already being dismantled.

Continued on page 2...
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