Later Than Usual

photo: cafe delmas, pl contrescarpe

Sunshine at a popular crime novel scene - in the
Place Contrescarpe.

How Much of This is True?

by Ric Erickson

Paris:- Tuesday, 15. April 2003:- Last week's weather here isn't worth remembering, even if it wasn't so bad. Wasn't 'so bad' even with the persistent northeast wind that cut to the bone, making it necessary to find streets without it. Or, maybe, that was the week before.

Maybe it wasn't as sunny as predicted. Whatever it was or wasn't, it was last week. This week we have brand-new weather, with a return to spring. This mainly applies to the Paris part of France - other parts have mucky- weather alerts.

The crummiest weather day this week is today. High clouds made the sky look white until about 14:00 when it turned blue. As an accessory, the sun is shining too. Finally, the treat in our box of Crackerjack is the temperature, which has levered itself up to 21 degrees.

For tomorrow, Le Parisien's curved lines disappear from the map of France, leaving all skies clear withphoto: fiat 500 of the week occasional clouds everywhere except Normandy. For Paris the temperature is predicted to be 24 whopping degrees - five to eight degrees above 'normal.'

Back by popular demand - the 'Fiat 500 of the Week.'

Erase the clouds for Thursday, bump the degrees up a point, and we may have the best-weather day of the year. Friday and Saturday are promised to be the same, but with temperatures backsliding down to 21 and then 19, but with sunny skies. Nothing perfect lasts forever, does it?

How much of this is true? Repeating wrong weather forecasts has happened so often that I tend to be skeptical of everything except mis-forecasts.

Another hint is the fact that next weekend will be Easter. It is pretty late this year. When it is earlier it usually tries to snow. It is not snowing now even though some folks are still skiing in the Alps and the Pyrenees. It might be bumpy skiing, but it is still skiing.

All in all, I do not think it will snow next Easter weekend in Paris. Italian visitors can leave their fancy winter outerwear at home.

Café Life

On My Day Off

Unlike today, Tuesday is usually my 'day off.' Last week I was better organized and I got to the marché early and I got the place cleaned up after the shambles left over from doing an issue.

Then Dennis phoned and asked me if it was my 'café time' yet, and being either carefree or couldn't-care-lessphoto: notre dame de travail de plaisance I met him and we exchanged 'tours of the horizon' as the big-time diplomats say when they don't want to say exactly what it was they really did say.

I wouldn't say this. I don't want to say I forget the reason for the meeting either. But it led to walking around. I think Dennis had a 'find' he wanted to show me, but we didn't find it.

The metal and wood interior of Notre-Dame du Travail.

On the way to nowhere, over in the west, he asked me if I'd ever seen the 'iron' church. I hadn't so we turned off the Rue Guilleminot and entered the Notre-Dame du Travail du Plaisance church and gave it some close examination.

Apparently the church has lost some of its original frescos representing Saint-Eloi, patron saint of the metallos, and Saint-Joseph, for the woodworkers. In the absence of either, Dennis represented the metallos with his expired railroad union card, and I with my expired woodworkers union membership.

Both the church's woodwork and metalworks met high union standards. Our inspection complete, we left and crossed under the Montparnasse railroad tracks to the 15th arrondissement and wandered around for a while without finding the 'find.'

What we neglected to do was look for the cheap printer ink place. This we did on Friday, with me leading the way. Finally, a kid in a café with tapas said it was around the corner. He was right, but they didn't have a replacement for Dennis' ink cartridge. They said they might be able to refill the original, but when Dennis went back a day later, there was some technical hitch.

None of this is the reason for Dennis' trip to Rome and Naples this week. He wants to find a home away from home in Italy, possibly in Rome. He knows a neighborhood there like ours in Paris.

Okapi Knives, Continued

In 1998 Metropole carried a modest discussion about ideal knives for picnics in Paris. This led to reply in an email feature from John McCulloch, who praised the 'Okapi' knife that he'd found to be widely used in Jamaica.

He wrote, "This style was in use by many of the Jamaican workers as it was easy to use and quite versatile. The Jamaicans could open it with one hand by hooking a finger in the ring attached to the hinging area of the knife as the ring was part of the locking rachet. I never mastered that particular trick but I used it for everything from cutting light rope to slicing tarps and plastic."

And then he added, "It wasn't until I was cleaning it up for the photos to send, that I 'discovered' its brand name 'Okapi' and that it was from Germany. Why a German product, named for a relative of the African giraffe, was popular in Jamaica - I'll leave for someone else to explain."

'Ed' responded with, 'I don't know why 'Okapi' knives are - or were - a favorite in Jamaica. A Web-search on knives turned up dealers, including some in Germany and Austria who deal in special tools for the police, armed forces and firemen. But I found no 'Okai' knives.'


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