"Eeek!" She Said

photo: group of the week, gillian, shirley, walter

Almost overpowered by sunlight, from left, Gillian,
Shirley and Walter.

And the Light Went On Again

Paris:- Thursday, 7. November 2002:- If I were flippant, I would sum the weather up with four words - rain, rain, more rain. But I am not - as club secretary - flippant, so I will have to give you more than these even if you have got the gist of it.

Last night I decided to have a TV evening. Since my little TV is not tuned to the Tour Eiffel, I decided to watch a video movie with the big TV, which is not attached to any antenna.

After moving six cartons, I found the user manual for the little TV that I've been seeking for four weeks. So I did not see last night's TV-weather news because I was busy failing to tune the little TV to the Tour Eiffel's frequencies.

The problem may be that what I think is a antenna socket to the antenna high up on the building's roof, is in reality, a cable-TV socket. So, while I failed to tune the little TV correctly - with TF1 supposed to be on channel 25, I got better reception for it on channel 47.

And when I gave up I was getting France-2 TV with buttons two, six and eight. In the end I did not have a 'TV evening' and I didn't see the weather forecast.

This morning I had, therefore, 'surprise' weather. There was a surprising amount of blue sky with a surprising amount of clouds of all colors drifting rapidly across it, and some surprise showers of rain - all in 30-minute rotation cycles.

Tonight I watched Isabelle on France-2 TV weather news - with button six! - show me an increasing collectionphoto: sunlit terrace of the week of dark clouds, increasing as we advance to the weekend - with a totally dark-cloud-covered France, except for around Nice, predicted for Monday, 11. November.

Actually, for Monday and this date in November, it is not a 'prediction.' Traditionally every 11. November in Paris is grey and sopping with driving rain. It is the Président's annual water-proof test.

Ultra-rare November - lots of sunshine and no cars on the Quai du Louvre. Two temporary situations.

This afternoon has been somewhat different. Coming across the Pont des Arts, today's sky is exceptionally clear. In the time required to get across the bridge there are two minor showers of rain. Nothing at all like duck soup though.

The club's café La Corona has a terrace so bright - it also has its awning - that there are even hardy souls on it, somewhat like those photos showing skiers on a mountain chalet's terrace in phoney photographs without blizzards.

All in all, quite nice weather for November and only a little bit bracing. Not enough for gloves yet, but definitely brisk enough for scarves.

Light is slicing through the cafe's 'grande salle' like it does when the sun is lower in the sky. It bounces off the new marble floor and blasts around the room like lasers - being blinding if I am sitting in the wrong place.

I slide along the banquette about a metre to the right. I write the meeting's particulars in the members' booklet and in the 'reports' booklet. I write a note about the weather - how else do you think I remember all this? - and note that the Seine has brown and choppy water today and the gulls look seedy

Then it is thumb-twiddle time. The terrace people outside even look cozy, so I take a photograph from inside the café. I twiddle my thumbs some more.

Shirley and Walter Pappas arrive from Falls Church, Virginia. They have been members for two years - this might be their fourth meeting. Shirley is pleased I remember their names. I think it is a neat trick too. Before they walked in, I hadn't given them a thought since the last time they walked out.

This is not quite true. For a long time I think Shirley's name is Irene. Walter shows me his new Nikon Coolpix 5700 and says, "I've finally gone digital."

Don Smith, another member, was here about two weeks ago and he has about the same type of camera. He sent me a photo via email that he called, 'Rare Photo of Ed Smiling.' The Internet interfered with the coding of the image file, and it wouldn't display. Ed's smiles remain rare.

Walter doesn't feel like talking about political developments in the United States. I can't say I blame him. To change the subject he says, "Los Angeles is stealing neighboring suburbs."

Paris doesn't steal its neighboring suburbs. If their garbage collectors have a strike, it doesn't affect Paris. Itphoto: food of the week, apple pie works the other way around too. TV-news is saying Strasbourg is pretty stinky these days after six days of a strike. Paris called off its own recent garbage strike after only two days.

High-speed lens captures apple delight before its swift disappearance.

Yes, I am pretty sure Paris doesn't want to annex Neuilly either. But I don't think about this too long because Gillian Watt arrives with Mark Kritz.

Actually, Mark wasn't coming to today's meeting when he happened to be passing and saw Gillian walk into the café and couldn't help following her in. He says he isn't officially 'at' this meeting. He gets to meet Gillian though.

Gillian says she wrote to say she was coming. Instead of saying I throw all emails away that say this, I make a mental note to not forget next time Gillian is coming.

Because, folks, Gillian is from Edinburgh in Scotland, which easily makes it the 'City of the Week' along with her accent, which is as delicious as Shirley's - which is not Virginian, but from the Carolinas.

Walter, who has not being saying much while he eats a huge slab of an apple-type tarte, decides to make a political comment after all. He says, "Before coming yesterday, I cast an absentee ballot for an absentee candidate."

Apparently, the more-taxes party in Virginia decided not to bother with rnning a candidate because they don't have the deep pockets that the lower-taxes candidates have.

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