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The Plain Truth

photo: group, ed and ron

'Ed' and Ron constitute the whole 'Group of the Week.'

The Quietest Meeting of the Week

Paris:– Thursday, 1. July 2004:– This week there are fresh newspapers today with fresh weather news but it's holiday time in France so most of the weather news is only for today as I guess it should be if you are on holidays and living one day at a time.

Here in Paris we are not on holiday yet, so this is a carefully researched weather forecast formulated by using all the tools available such as this morning's paper with its all–France weather and tonight's TV–weather news update.

Despite all these ultra–scientific tools, the weather doesn't look too great for Friday. In fact it starts outphoto: water bubbles lousy, but because it is holiday time in France, it gets better as the day wears on. There may be some rain in the morning, gradually shifting to being merely cloudy, to finish off being a bit sunny if it can get to this stage before sundown.

The high temperature for tomorrow is foreseen as being 20, but is expected to fall if it ever reaches this height. Even though it may have been partly sunny as Friday was ending, Saturday morning is expected to be cloudy again, perhaps getting sunnier. The temperature may rise to 22 degrees.

The moody bubble– water of the week.

No actual clouds are predicted for Sunday, but it probably won't be more than semi–sunny. The southeast of France will be very sunny and darn warm, but up here in the north we will be lucky if the temperature hits 25 degrees. This is given as a sure thing, so I really doubt it.

This doesn't hinder today's Le Parisien from putting the entire summer's weather forecast on it's front page, in honor of it being Canada Day, 1. July. The big question is, of course, do we risk having another heat wave like last summer?

In general, there will be more sunshine in July and it will be hotter in August. This observation is based on 30 years of watching the weather by France Météo, which has actually been watching it for somewhat longer.

First conclusion – the more sunshine a place has, the hotter it will be. There is a strong connection between the two, according to France Météo's philosophers. August will be hotter because of heat accumulation although the days are shorter.

Even though France Météo will rather not risk making predictions beyond seven days, they are betting on an average July that only gets comfortable near the end. This will carry over into the first two weeks of August, after which temperatures are expected to be normal for October. All the same, they expect August to be dry, and its sunshine may exceed the norms for the month. Pick any one.

A Simple 'Club Report of the Week'

On the way to the club I am trying to judge the mood of the streets. The sky is various shades of grey, there are some tricky breezes, and it is not overly warm. Are there a lot of people gawking around? I look where the Pont Neuf joins the right bank, and the answer has to be 'no.'

Even in midwinter this is a busy area, but today it seems short–changed. The traffic on the Quai du Louvre is its usual belching self of painted tin, glass, plastic and rubber, noise and gas. Butphoto: cafe, water there are no busloads of browsers checking out the quay's bouquinistes. The same can be said for all the terraces between the bridge and the Louvre itself. Nearly deserted.

However, inside the club's café there are more people than usual for a Thursday lingering over their lunches, or coffee breaks, or just sitting down after battling through the 'soldes' or standing in line across the way in the world's biggest museum in a former palace and ex–fort.

Ed's café with water–chaser of the week.

To be plainly truthful, if there were only one table with two people sitting at it,this would be a 100 percent increase over last week – but, in fact, half a dozen tables are occupied this afternoon.

While setting up the club's booklets for today's onslaught of new members, I note that the meeting on this date a year ago was graced with four members and Heather's miniature dogs, which brought the membership to six even if the dogs slept through the meeting.

After a little while of not much happening, member Ron Bristol drifts up the club's tables. Ron was at the meeting before last and he has just returned from seeing EuroFoot matches in Portugal. But before he can give a goal–by–goal summary, he says, "Austin is the closest thing to west coast in Texas."

Before I am about to be puzzled by this, Ron does give Portugal a lot of credit for handling a lot of football fans with aplomb and grace, goodwill and big 50–cent beers called 'super bock.'

About Portugal's chances to win the tournament, Ron says, "On any given day, anybody can beat anybody." Last night wasn't Holland's 'any given day,' and Portuguese fans in Paris had a fine party on the Champs–Elysées to celebrate upsetting the favored Dutch team.

Texas must have some extreme weather, because Ron returns to the subject. "The weather is okay here," he claims. Paris still hasn't got a lot of air conditioning, and doesn't need any today, but I suggest the Picard shops as cool places.

Apparently even Picard shops are odd because all their frozen food is displayed in freezers lying on the floor. Ron says shopping there is like looking at frozen coffins. In the United States, I'm told, frozen food is stored in upright freezers so shoppers don't have to bend over.

"I'm responsible for dinner," Ron says. As far as I can tell he is sitting across the table from me and doesn't look like he is doing anything to do with food.

He says that he expected to find some veal stock in a supermarket, read to go and use. But he didn't, so he got some veal bones from a butcher and did whatever one does to them, and they are doing their thing by turning into stock while he's at the club meeting.


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