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Windmill Viewing

photo: beer group of the week

A group of beers stands in for the 'Group of the Week.'.

Bring Your Own Bottle

Paris:– Thursday, 26. August 2004:– Am I supposed to take this weather seriously? There's no heatwave in sight, no new hurricanes, it never snows in August – crossing my fingers! – and we don't have true blue skies with sunbeams in them.

There is just, according to this morning's Le Parisien and tonight's TV–weather news, just a sort of blah in the air to look forward to for the next couple of days. How exciting can I make blah?

I mean, sometimes, the weather is exciting. The last two club meetings were treated to wonderful downpours while we were sitting all snugly in the La Corona's clubroom. There was some splash with a dash!

But tomorrow? In the morning a bit of sun and a lot of clouds and in the afternoon a lot of clouds and maybe a bit of sun. The weather in Lyon will probably be nicer. But if you like clouds better, get up to the Channel where there'll be a lot of them to enjoy. Meanwhile here the high temperature should be – hey now! – 24 blazing degrees.

The TV weatherman was standing in front of Saturday's map at the wrong time, so Sunday's outlook varies from mostly cloudy to possibly a bit sunny in the afternoon. Again all of this is drifting down on us from the Channel. The high will be one degree more than Saturday, at a predicted 22 degrees.

After watching a half–dozen commercials Saturday's weather showed up on another channel. It wasn't worth the wait, with a forecast for cloudy all day, and sunshine in Lyon again. Around here the temperature won't be more than 21 degrees, in case anyone cares.

The First Club Report of the Week

I don't know what is worse. Having a summer of beautiful weather that is almost over or having had a summerphoto: nancy macklin of some pretty crummy weather that is almost over. Either way the idea of trudging to today's club meeting and knowing I will pass no bright blue sails fluttering in the breezes along the Seine, is not uplifting.

Nancy wants to see London's zoo.

Walking through the 'on holiday' closed and shuttered Quartier Latin is another downer. We are marking time here waiting for August to drift into the past without really having much of an idea of what September has in store. Mind you, old hands do agree that September has nice weather.

A bicyclist flags me down to ask the way to the Porte d'Orléans. He can, I tell him, try the big hill on the Rue Saint–Jacques or take the long, slow climb up the Rue de Rennes and turn left on the Avenue du Maine. When we part I'm not sure he'll be able to find either.

While crossing the Pont des Arts I see all the sky over the right bank and it looks like it may just open up and dump a lot of water on the city's northern half. At the Quai du Louvre end, I feel the first drops, but very tiny ones.

At the café La Corona there are no large crowds on its terraces or in the bar or in the 'grande salle' where meetings are held. Everything and everybody seems to have dropped into a doze. But in the club's area the tables are tidy, so it is easy to sit down without getting overworked.

I write the meeting number and the date in the club's booklets. If I multiply the number of meetings by two hours, I calculate that I've been at 500 hours' worth of meetings. I think of airplane drivers who have run up airtime, looking and clouds and sky, and think I'd rather be at a club meeting, especially of there's any members present.

As a reward, Tony Hall presents himself for membership. Tony comes from Fort Lauderdale in Florida and this becomes the 'City of the Week,' filling a sore lack of necessary club lore. You would think Fort Lauderdale would already be a 'City of the Week,' but only one other member has admitted coming from there.

Tony has, he says, been on his way to the club since 15. July. He interrupted his journey to drive a sailboat out of Marbella on day trips, and to take in the Tour de France up in the Alps around Grenoble. In between, or maybe it was during this month, he delivered a yacht from someplace to someplace else.

It all started 20 years ago when he rewarded himself for losing a job by sailing off to New Zealand. Now he mainlyphoto: wine of the week teaches other people how to do it, or how to drive boats with motors. Other than being recently in Grenoble or Marbella, Tony has been riding around on TGVs and fat–tired bicycles.

About here Nancy Macklin arrives for her second meeting of the year after the one she attended in January. Nancy is from Belleville, Illinois. She says she doesn't know why it's called 'Belleville.' I lived in the Bellevue part of Meudon for several years and nobody there knew why it was called that either.

Look closely for this wine's 'leggs.'

The two members decide to order a drink. They discuss it a bit to fast for me to make a wine suggestion for Tony, so they decide to try 'light' beer. I don't think there is any, other than the regular yellow kind, and the 'Waiter of the Week' says there is no Stella, so they settle for Gold.

Since Gold is not brown like Pelforth I guess it is a 'light' beer. They tap glasses, to give the club its 'Group Photo of the Week.' Nancy absorbs the information about quantity – that she's trying a 'demi,' which is a quarter–litre.

There is no particular 'lore' to learn about this. It's just something that was made up in the land where metricphoto: tony wall volumes were invented, with 'exceptions' of course. Neither say whether they like the beer, but recall beers had elsewhere they did like.

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