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Nearly All Sports

photo: group of three, steve, lucky, roy

Steve, Lucky and Roy, not looking at the Tour Eiffel.

Letterboxes in the Driveway

Paris:- Thursday, 24. July 2003:- There haven't been any true tropical spells calling for Hawaiian shirts lately. In fact, I had a sense of stillness this morning, and when I consulted the exterior, rain was falling straight down. It didn't last long, but it is a long time since we've seen rain. Rain while I am asleep doesn't count.

After the rain it feels cool until being outside and walking around. I don't think it could have been more than 25 today, but it is humid. Don't run, therefore, after buses.

The forecast for the next three days - only! - is the opposite of exciting. I only have the TV-weather news version. For what it is worth, Friday is supposed to start out with a big sunball for all of France in the morning. In the afternoon it gets gradually covered up by clouds. The high temperature should be 27 degrees.

But by Saturday the clouds - always moving from west to east, and their cover expanding towardsphoto: full beer, full water the southeast from the channel - will cover more of the sky more often. I guess it means warm air from Spain is retreating because the temperature should not exceed 23. This might be 'average' for July in Paris.

At nearly every meeting's beginning, nearly everything is full.

The situation continues - the clouds get thicker - for Sunday, and the forecast high is only 21, which is not a very good average for anything. Even though I will not be here to witness this, I say this is not worthy beach weather for Paris and I am sorry as hell about it, even though I won't be here.

The weather forecast for the coming three weeks is as much a mystery to me as it is to France Météo, who is responsible not only for the forecasts, but for the weather itself. If you want to make a formal complaint I suggest you go to Toulouse. I believe this is where you'll find the headquarters of France Météo. By the time you get there, the weather will probably be pretty nice.

Today's Club Meeting

On the ride from Montparnasse to Châtelet I notice that the métro has retained last week's old weather underground. There are no incidents of any kind during the ride, except for the usual ladies fanning themselves with advertising brochures and other scraps of paper. I don't remember people in Paris ever doing this before.

The Soldes d'Eté are still continuing with mark-downs on top of mark-downs. I go into Samaritaine on the Rue de Rivoli to look for somebody both cheap and silly, so I can be properly dressed to represent Paris while visiting America. But it is a waste of time. Except for thousands of expensive but gaudy ties, the department store seems to have nothing cheap or silly or both.

I am now wishing I had bought a Paris Plage t-shirt yesterday. I had the chance while on the beach, but decided to leave it to the last minute and when I passed by BHV's outdoor stalls, I was horrified to see that their selection isn't part of the Soldes d'Eté. The same items on the beach are cheaper.

At the club's café La Corona, I leave one of the Avis 'upgrade' coupons at the bar - addressed to some readers who wrote to request one, but don't arrive in Paris until tomorrow. The remaining 18 will be available for the asking when I return. See the new Partner page for details.

In the café's 'grande salle' I have a feeling I will be alone for two hours today because I have nothing to read and I've already written my 'to pack' list and I don't care what I've left off it. Just writing the list is a huge technological advance for me.

Lucky Checkley is the first member to show up, which he does at 15:05. I see now that the notes I've written before he arrives are in the 'reports' booklet' where they are supposed to be. The rest of today's 'report' notes are in the members' booklet, where they are not supposed to be.

In case you were thinking of asking me why I'm taking a holiday, here is your answer. Roy Trew is the next to arrive, and I introduce him to Lucky as Joe Fitzgerald. Roy is very alert, and tells Lucky he is not Joe.

Lucky joined the club, as farphoto: full soup bowl of cafe as I can tell, at the meeting held on 25. July of last year. I have a feeling he has been at every meeting held during the year's 30th week, but if so, he didn't manage to get into the records - so I guess I just feel like I've known him for a long time.

Beer, water, even soup-bowls of café are full. At the beginning.

Lucky is an important wheel at Manhattan's School of Visual Arts. He comes to France for the bike race every year, and takes a lot of photos of it. Roy Trew takes a lot of photos too, but first, we talk about cricket.

No, first we talk about the Mandola Lucky sent to a friend in Metz via one of the shipping companies. Lucky says a Mandola is a kind of viola, the kind, "You throw on a fire."

The shipping company 'lost' it and was looking all over for it for three days after they delivered it, to the correct address in Metz.

Lucky got to be a cricket player or fan by growing up in Trinidad, and this is recalled on account of me saying I might go to a Mets game while I'm in New York. Lucky approves of the Mets. "They have games with 16 innings sometimes," he says.

Now this is when Roy really enters, just before the club's mascot Willy the Bird, flies in for a looksee. According to both Lucky and Roy, the best thing about cricket is teatime.

Classical cricket is better for this than the Australian version of 'speed-cricket,' which is confined to single-day games. In classical cricket, after teatime before 10:00, the game continues until teatime in the afternoon. If the weather is good, the game will even continue until another teatime in the evening, or until it rains. This goes on for days, weeks even, especially if it is a crucial 'test match.'.

There are two batters and they stand 22 metres apart, while a bowler throws wooden rocks at them, to try and knock down two egg-timers set on top of three skinny poles. The two batters are on the same team, and if one of them hits the wooden rock with a sort of paddle-like bat, then the two batters run back and forth between the two 'wickets.'

The other ten members of a team, if they are not pitching, but including the spare '12th man,' stand around waiting for teatime. The competing team's ten players stand around in a big field and maybe once in half a day something happens before teatime.

Roy looks at me as if I'm crazy when I ask if there is off-pitch betting in Australia. I should know better. Australians will bet on sunrises if there's nothing else handy.

Roy and Lucky trade stories about famous cricket bowlers and batsmen, who were active in the early '50s. I am very caeful not to ask them what cricket scores mean, because I can't even figure out how tennis is scored.

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