horz line

''Magic Still Happens Here''

photo: john, terri, steve, sydney, ana, tomoko, barry, laurel, lauren, lauren, philip

Not the only 'Group Photo of the Week.'

One Lauren, Two Laurels

Paris:- Thursday, 25. September 2003:- Sacrebleu! Monday's weather forecast, which I see I softened somewhat - to be not too alarming! - compared to the nasty images on the TV-weather news - well, it has turned out to be a lot less nasty than even my softened version.

For one thing, the sky has been pretty blue all over, and even, I presume, at night. Yes, there have been slightly chilly breezes, but not too disagreeable at all. It might have even been over 20 degrees yesterday and this wasn't in the forecast I passed along.

The dilemma now, is how to present the next forecast? First off, warmer temperatures are predicted. To be around 20 or a bit more. This is to go along with mostly sunny for tomorrow, semi-sunny for Saturday, and semi-mi-mi- crummy for Sunday, but always with these comfortable - 'for the time of year' - temperatures.

Oops. Big oooops! I wrote the forecast on the wrong days, by using the weather maps from Wednesday's newspaper.

photo: speed beer of the weekHere is the revised forecast. Tomorrow has 'zones of shadows.' Friday will not be 'really famous.' And Sunday, oh, Sunday. Le Parisien says, 'Dirty end of the weekend.'

Today's first 'Speedy Beer of the Week.'

This kind of reminds me of the gloomy forecast here last Monday. It was not as bad as predicted, and we have tonight's forecast for higher temperatures. If it does manage to rain on Sunday, it shouldn't be too cold. It's a comforting thought. But I wonder when the heat is going to be turned on inside.

The 204th Club Meeting 'Report'

I am going to skip the rigamarole of writing about riding the Métro to Châtelet this week, because from underground one sees no blue sky. There are other things to see, but sky isn't one of them until resurfacing at Châtelet. My walk through some of Paris' oldest streets and alleys to the club's café is without incident too, except there is blue sky overhead.

The Quai du Louvre is decked with it too. For a change the terrace of La Corona has more than a sprinkling of folks lounging around on its terrace. Some sort of French 'exception' causes young Monsieur Naudan to remark that there are very few 'Americans' around.

This may be true, but I can't tell. It seems to me that more of them are gathering at club meetings - even thoughphoto: full table not all members are 'Americans.' The more I expect fewer members to show up, the more they confound me. So I try to cheer Monsieur Naudan up with the good news. I think it makes him more gloomy than ever.

There are no members in the café's 'grande salle' when I get to my official secretary's slot just before 15:00. But I do not exactly get a chance to sit down before Ana Escomel beats me to it, beating 15:00 too.

Typical view of club's table today. A mess!

Something like five seconds before the hour, Terri Minami and John Lawton arrive and sit down while I am still suspended halfway between vertical and folded. They are respectively members 98 and 99, having joined the club in September of 2000. They also attended a meeting the following year at the same time.

While I am trying to remember this a 'man-in-black' strolls in from the terrace. I noticed him there just before stopping to talk to Monsieur Naudan. I thought he might be a scout for some big outfit looking for a reasonably alert club secretary.

He is, in fact, a club member. It is Philip Bentley who joined two weeks ago. Not many members come to meetings wearing dark suits, or suits of any color. It is so rare that it is today's first 'first' even though I think it happened once before, sometime back in the dim mists of time.

Philip tells me he isn't related to the car firm. He says BMW is. When I worked at BMW they had Isetta and probably never dreamed they'd have Bentley one day, or the Mini. Yes - Minis have gotten big and snazzy because they are made by BMW now. The way things are going, don't be surprised to see a Mini as big as a Mercedes 600 one day. They'll call it 'Mini and Huge and Fast.'

Philip says he is wearing a suit because he is looking for a job in 'IT.' John says he just retired from a job in 'IT.' John is not wearing a suit. Philip says he didn't expect it to be as warm as it was yesterday. Neither did I.

He says it must be 'Indian Summer.' He is from London and any sunshine after 15. August and before 31. Decemberphoto: red tab is called 'Indian Summer' even if it only lasts for a half hour. In France we are more fussy because it must last for a whole day sometime after 15. September and before 25. September.

Special money dish designed for windy meetings.

Ana wants to know about opening a bank account in France. Philip says it can be done with money, at least eight different pieces of paper like electricity bills, and more money. He does add though, that the first bank you try may not care for your money. He says some banks are fussy, but another branch will usually do it.

Lauren and Steve Camera-Murray arrive. Lauren sits down but Steve can't make up his mind whether he's going to stand or sit. He says he contacted the movie people who were looking for soldier-type 'men-in-black' last week. He says they were really enthusiastic but they neglected to tell him where or when to show up.

At 15:20 Willy the Sparrow flies in for his first sweep of the bread crumb situation. A minute later new member Laurel Robinson arrives. No, this is not right. Laurel Robinson arrived at 15:00 - and it is Lauren and Steve at 15:21.

Laurel lives in San Francisco, but really comes from Telluride, Colorado, now known as the 'City of the Week.' Tomoko Yokomitsu has come in too, but no time of arrival is noted. Philip says he didn't find anything more about the real date of the Queen's birthday. This is okay because the Queen Mary II started its sea trials today.

I only note members' times of arrival so I can make some sense of these notes. You may sense that this plan doesn't work too well.

Ana is comparing experiences - fond memories - with Philip about Harry's New York Bar in Singapore. It seems like the two of them have been in most of the world's Harry's Bars, except in New Zealand. "But Angelika ha probably been to that one," Ana says.

Continued on page 2...
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