horz line

''It Rained Like Sparerods''

photo: group, kim; susan, ed, roy, elizabeth, linda

Today's group without a tripod - Kim, Susan, Ed, Roy,
Elizabeth and Linda.

Club Honors Takoma Park

Paris:- Thursday, 21. August 2003:- Even though the blistering heatwave period and the tropical periods seem to be past, leaving the weather in the boring condition of merely being perfectly summer - sunny, warm, a little breezy and not a bit humid - I am still going to be wearing one of my two authentic Hawaiian shirts today, after largely wasting them for most of the past three weeks on Manhattan's blackouts and tropics.

I write 'most of' because two days after my last club meeting in Paris I was wearing the shirts in northern New Hampshire and southern Maine, during regionally untypically summer weather there. After a short visit the weather in this part of the United States close to Canada, reverted to normal for northern regions - which is not so very different from a normal summer in Paris.

But that doesn't concern us here. Tonight's TV-weather news, no less optimistic than New York's Channel 11-TV version, calls for partly cloudy tomorrow, maybe mostly cloudy on Saturday and less so than on Friday, on Sunday.

However, temperatures are expected to be respectable, staying within the range of 26 to 28 degrees. Thisphoto: beer, cafe, tea is right around the 80 F area, which is a bit warmer than it's been today. No mention is ever explicitly made about humidity in Paris, so I can't make any guesses about this element, or estimate the future possible 'tropical' quotient.

Some drinks of this week, without being so honored.

Everybody who was in Paris while I was away knows that the thermometre went mad for an extended period, at times registering temperatures around 40 degrees, which is slightly over 100 F. It was not humid, but there was little wind and the city and everybody in it cooked day after day.

To get even, the northeastern United States decided to have a power blackout last Thursday, which meant lights out for 50 million. Residents responded by taking it as easy as possible while emergency services extracted the stranded from stalled subway wagons and elevators. Power was restored just over 24 hours later and officials began the game of finding somebody other than Canada to blame. Meanwhile the survivors began the search for food safe enough to eat.

The high points of Thursday night were being able to view stars over New York City, seeing many people having impromptu street parties outside their apartment buildings, and hearing a saxophonist give an amazing 90-minute solo concert featuring Big Band favorites. Drivers drove slowly without the aid of traffic lights or their horns. With the window-box air-conditioning units shut down, it was probably the quietest day and night in New York in 26 years.

Today's Club Meeting

The server-lady, Linda Thalman, is waiting for the club's secretary in the 'Grande Salle ' of the café Corona, when I arrive today, slightly before 15:00. Linda is standing up, holding a glass of wine, because two groups of non- Metropole readers almost completely fill the club's allotted space, gobbling sausages and frites.

These must not be disturbed because many quay-side cafés lost business during the weeks of Paris Plage, especially when it was too hot to shift off it to get refreshments. Paris' beach population has been estimated to have been three million, an increase of 700,000 over the first edition in 2002.

So it is then, that we are sitting squinched into a corner by the windows when members Kim and Ed Hurwitz of Sanibel, Florida, arrive - from already being in France and nearby countries for a long time on their annual visit. Kim has an odometre showing how far they've already walked today.

It says some number over eight miles and Linda says it must be the 'Thing of the Week.' In short order Elizabeth and Roy Trew arrive, closely followed by this week's totally new member, Susan Roche, from Takoma Park, Maryland. Now we are more squinched in than ever, but thephoto: mini tripod secretary notices that the sausages and frites are finished, and we can spread out a bit.

With elbow-room, we wait dry and in vain for the 'Waiter of the Week' to complete feeding some other of the café's customers. Right here I will say that I woke up at 06:00 this morning. This time does not correspond to anything in Paris or New York, but I puzzled about it for two hours anyway. These notes will suffer for it. But Takoma Park will be the club's 'City of the Week' nevertheless.

The mini, flex-tripod, here clearly shown handily holding up Ed's camera.

The odometre - so aptly named for a 'Thing of the Week' - is not the 'Thing of the Week.' This honor goes to Ed's mini tripod that will not only hold up his digital camera on any table, but has flexible legs so it can hang from handy tree branches if necessary, and if they are not too far off the ground.

He offers to show us how it works by setting it up to take a 'Group Photo of the Week' with the club's secretary in it, but I decline because we've just become unsquinched and attracting the 'Waiter of the Week's' attention is now getting vital. Several members are panting.

Susan tells me she first came to Paris in 1965 and has not been able to stop coming nearly every year since. She says this adds up to 20 years, but even jetlagged, I think it is more like 37, when I think about it later. I told you today's notes are no good.

Roy has a verbal correction to make to last week's club 'report.' In Australia a 'slab of beer' - I forget which honor this received - is actually four six-packs - "Like a slab!" he says, expecting even the club's secretary to instantly visualize the slab-likeness of four six-packs. But I take his word for it.

Ed, who has not read last week's club 'report,' says that he heard a new phrase in Britain. He says 'it rained like sparerods' clearly enough but with blacked out ears I think he really means to say, 'it rained like spareribs.' He says it is 'sparerods' and not 'spareribs' and I still don't 'get it.' Except that if Brits feel like saying 'rods' instead of 'ribs' when they are talking about heavy rain, who am I to argue?

Roy and Ed have something in common. They agree that humidity inBrisbane and Sanibel is equally high - usually 90 percent and up. Ed even says it starts off in the morning around 110 percent but as the day gets hot it drys out a bit.

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